Increase in unemployment fraud in Pa. linked to identity theft

Investigators

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Fake unemployment applications are increasing in Pennsylvania and scammers could be using your name.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) said “due to ongoing investigations” it can not currently estimate the amount of fraudulent unemployment claims, but said the rise in bogus applications is tied to identity theft.

“The recent increase in fraud attempts are tied to prior leaks of personal and confidential data, like social security numbers, from sources outside of state government,” Sarah DeSantis, Press Secretary, Department of Labor & Industry Office of Communications said.

According to L&I, personal and confidential data information from attacks on private companies is often sold to scammers using the dark web.

L&I says signs of fraud include receiving unrequested unemployment paperwork from L&I’s Office of Unemployment Compensation, receiving unemployment benefit payments they did not apply for, and receiving a 1099G tax form for 2020 indicating they were paid unemployment benefits.

Here’s what you should do if your information has been used to file a fraudulent unemployment claim
-file a police report where you live
file a claim with the Department of Labor and Industry and provide a copy of the police report
-notify your employer
-check your credit report

Employers who receive a fake claim can log into the Unemployment Compensation Management System and challenge the filing. If you don’t have an account file a fraud report.

“Employers should monitor the unemployment claims they receive on behalf of their employees and notify L&I of any improper activity. Employers with higher amounts of unemployment claims pay more toward unemployment insurance, so it is incumbent upon employers to report improper claims,” DeSantis said.

To report Identity Theft click here.

L&I says a majority of fraudulent claims are caught before payments are issued.

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