According to the U.S. Department of Labor, states have been experiencing a surge in fraudulent unemployment claims filed by organized crime rings using stolen identities that were accessed or purchased from past data breaches, the majority of which occurred in previous years and involved larger criminal efforts unrelated to unemployment. Criminals are using these stolen identities to fraudulently collect benefits across multiple states. Unemployment fraud can affect children, retirees, workers and legitimate claimants.
Additionally, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry’s (L&I) security vendor ID.me has identified additional phishing attempts and fraud scams leveraging social media, text messaging, and email to lure unsuspecting individuals into providing personal information so that the scammers can claim their identity.
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) is committed to preventing, identifying, and blocking scams and is continuing its aggressive efforts to do so, including:
- Cross-matching data with other state agencies and across the country to detect fraud activity.
- Working with the U.S. Department of Labor to prevent and detect fraudulent activities related to UC.
Individuals should be vigilant in protecting their personal information and reporting suspected or known fraud and identity theft. If you or someone you know believes they are a victim of unemployment fraud, it is recommended that the following steps be taken:
- Report the fraud to the state’s unemployment department. Below are the states within our market area however a full list can be found here – https://dol.gov/agencies/eta/unemployment-insurance-payment-accuracy/UIfraudreporting
- File a report of identity theft with your local police department.
- Check your credit report for suspicious activity or unauthorized lines of credit opened. You can request free credit reports every week from each of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, Transunion) through AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1- 877-322-8228; you will need to provide your name, address, social security number, and date of birth to verify your identity.
- Consider freezing your credit. It’s the best way you can protect against having new accounts opened in your name. Visit the Credit Freeze page on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website.