Have you tried to apply for unemployment and were denied, because you were told you are already receiving it? Were you surprised when you received a tax form outlining the unemployment insurance you neither applied for, nor collected? Maybe you did collect unemployment, but not for the amount specified. You might be a victim of unemployment insurance fraud.
Unemployment insurance (UI) fraud occurs in a multitude of ways. Primarily, it is when an individual applies for unemployment using all–or part of–a victim’s personal identifying information (PII). The following are some tell-tale signs you may be a victim of unemployment insurance fraud:
- You receive unemployment correspondence at your address with names of individuals who do not reside there.
- You receive multiple unemployment letters in your name, but you never applied for unemployment.
- You receive a tax form, from the IRS or the state, claiming you owe money on unemployment benefits you never collected or received.
- You receive unemployment benefits confirmation paperwork in the mail, but you did not file.
- You receive a phone call and/or email asking to forward or withdraw an unexpected automatic deposit to send to someone else.
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT
Not only has your PII been compromised, but it was used to apply for UI you might actually need. Sadly, this fraud can prevent you from legitimately obtaining unemployment insurance when you need it the most. It can also have an effect on how much you are taxed at the state-level, as well as federally. Additionally, criminals can utilize your PII to commit different types of fraud or crimes. Being aware of these signs can help you report the fraudulent activity to the proper authorities.
HOW TO REPORT UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE FRAUD
- Contact your local or state unemployment office and/or claimant fraud hotline to report the fraud.
- Contact the three major credit bureaus to review your reports for any unusual activity. If you discover incorrect or fraudulent information on your credit report, you should submit a dispute directly to the credit bureau(s).
- Inform your employer, since they too can be affected by fraudulent claims on their accounts.
- File a police report with your local police department. It does not mean they will investigate the suspected unemployment fraud, but at least there will be a record of it on file, and you can get a copy of the report for your records.
- Contact your financial institutions and monitor your accounts closely.
- Contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) at (866) 720- 5721 to submit a fraud report and/or claim.
- The Postal Inspection Service may also be notified at 1-877-876-2455.
As a protective measure, we urge all victims of fraud and identity theft to keep a file of all reports and documents pertaining to the suspected fraud, i.e., reports filed, and/or claims made. Having all your paperwork organized and readily at-hand can assist you in dealing with any issues you may have in the future.