State Directory For Reporting Unemployment Identity Theft
Refer to each state’s specific guidance around reporting unemployment identity theft. Some states may refer to unemployment as “reemployment assistance” or may refer to identity theft as “imposter fraud”.
Never send personal information or documents to unverified sites or in response to requests from social media. The resources below have been verified by state and federal government.
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The Signs: How To Tell If Someone Claimed Unemployment Under Your Name
Unfortunately, most people do not know they are a victim until the damage is done.
People typically find out about the problem when they receive benefits-related paperwork in the mail, a call from their employer or when they try to file a legitimate claim for benefits and are denied. In some cases, a criminal may initiate the false claim but the money itself is sent to the victim’s account or home. The fraudsters may also build on a legitimate claim by requesting further benefits and nabbing those.
Unfortunately, the fraud may have been perpetrated months ago but some people may just be finding out now because of tax season. States are required to mail out a 1099-G form, which reports income from unemployment benefits. People may receive these for benefits they never claimed, sometimes from multiple states. A taxpayer may also discover the issue after they file their federal taxes, only to be alerted later by the IRS that they did not report all their income, due to the bogus claim.
“We are nowhere near the end of this particular fraud,” said Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit that helps victims of identity theft.
Anyone can be a victim, Velasquez said. Retired individuals may find out they are a victim when the Social Security Administration alerts them their benefits are being reduced.
Where Is My Unemployment Check
If you have been granted unemployment benefits and have not yet received your check, log in to your TWC account and confirm the accuracy of your mailing address, email address, and bank account information.
As job losses from the COVID-19 pandemic continue to rise across Texas, unemployment claims have increased as well. Unfortunately, many workers have fallen victim to identity theft, where scammers have fraudulently claimed unemployment benefits in the workers names. See Combatting Fraud: Protecting Texans in the Era of COVID-19.
If you suspect that someone else has stolen your unemployment check, visit TWCs website to Report Fraud and follow the guidelines on What Do I Do If I Suspect A Scammer Is Collecting My Unemployment Checks?
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How We Use Your Social Security Number
We use your Social Security Number to verify your income and work history by checking for wages reported by your recent employers. If there is a mismatch between what you told us when you applied for benefits and the wages reported by employers, that difference could be due to a simple mistake in what you told us, what we entered into our system, or what your employer reported. It is also possible that the difference is due to someone else using your SSN, which is sometimes called “identity theft.”
It is important to correct wage history errors because if you receive benefits based on incorrect wages or wages that are not yours, you must repay any overpayment.
What To Do If You Received An Irs Form 1099
The Department of Justice Insurance Fraud Task Force is investigating numerous fraud schemes targeting state unemployment agencies, including TWC.
Criminal actors are filing fraudulent unemployment claims using stolen identities.
Because unemployment benefits are taxable, TWC issues Form 1099-G to the Internal Revenue Service and claimants. Individuals may receive Form 1099-G indicating that they were paid unemployment benefits for a claim they did not file. If you received a Form 1099-G for unemployment benefits on a claim you did not file, you should report it immediately using the online portal.
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What Employers Can Do If You Suspect Id Theft
Employers may receive a Notice of Application for Unemployment Benefits, a Request for Work Separation Information, or other form from TWC requesting information on a claim. If you receive a notice for an employee who is still working, or for a person who never worked for you, please respond to the notice immediately. See Responding to a Notice of Application for more information.
If your employee receives material from TWC for an unemployment claim they did not file, you should advise your employee to report the ID theft claim using TWCs online portal. While either you or your employee may report the suspected ID theft using the portal, we prefer that the information comes directly from the person whose identity was stolen. Your employee can find information about how to report ID theft in the section above.
What Do I Do If I Suspect A Scammer Is Collecting My Unemployment Checks
Review the following resources if you believe you suspect potentially fraudulent activity concerning your unemployment account:
- Equifax: To request a credit report: 685-1111. To report fraud: 525-6285 or write to P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241 or website: www.equifax.com.
- Experian: To request a credit report or report fraud: 397-3742 or write to P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013 or website: www.experian.com.
- Trans Union: To request a credit report: 888-4213. To report fraud: 680-7289 write to P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834 www.transunion.com or email: .
Irs Information For Taxpayers
When you file your income taxes, ONLY include income you received, even if you have not yet received a corrected 1099-G from the state.
- The processing of your tax return should not be delayed while your report of unemployment identity theft is under investigation.
- Do not report the incorrect 1099-G income on your tax return.
- The American Rescue Plan of 2021 provides for a one-time exemption of $10,200 per person in unemployment benefits to individuals and couples who earned $150,000 or less last year. If you have already filed your taxes, do not file an amended return. The IRS will issue additional guidance.
- There is no requirement to file a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. A Form 14039 should be filed only if the taxpayers’ e-filed tax return is rejected because a duplicate return with their Social Security number is already on file or if the IRS instructs them to file a Form 14039.
- Taxpayers who were victims of an unemployment benefits identity theft scheme should consider opting into the IRS Identity Protection PIN program. An IP PIN is a six-digit number that helps prevent thieves from filing federal tax returns in the names of identity theft victims. The IP PIN is a voluntary program open to any taxpayer who can verify his or her identity. See details at Get an IP PIN.
Examples Of Unemployment Benefits Fraud
Identity Theft/Imposter Fraud
Fraudsters use another persons personal identifying information to apply for and receive unemployment benefits. PII can be stolen through outside data breaches, email phishing schemes, impersonation scams and other methods.
This kind of fraud occurs when a claimant makes false statements or withholds information to receive unemployment benefits for example, when a claimant continues to receive benefits after returning to work, and does not report their earnings.
According to the FBI, be on the lookout for the following suspicious activities:
- Receiving communications regarding unemployment insurance forms when you have not applied for unemployment benefits.
- Unauthorized transactions on your bank or credit card statements related to unemployment benefits.
- Any fees involved in filing or qualifying for unemployment insurance.
- Unsolicited inquiries related to unemployment benefits.
- Fictitious websites and social media pages mimicking those of government agencies.
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Where To Report Unemployment Fraud
Promptly reporting identity theft will help you get on the road to recovery and limit any delays in receiving future benefits should you need them. The Federal Trade Commission has a special recovery plan for unemployment fraud victims which includes an identity theft report. This plan provides pre-filled forms and will help you complete letters you can use when contacting business and agencies to report the fraud.
Verify Your Social Security Number & Wages
After you apply for benefits, we send you documents that include your name, the last four digits of your SSN, and wage records from your last employer. Check all documents carefully to ensure that we have the right name, SSN and wages on your claim.
An error could be due to a simple mistake such as a typing error or it could be due to someone else using your SSN.
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Get A Social Security Statement
The Social Security Administration maintains an online service that lets you find out what you have paid into Social Security, how many hours of work your employers have reported each quarter, and what your expected benefits would be if you were to retire or go on disability in the near future.
You may think that would be wonderful since the worker reporting hours to your Social Security account is moving you closer to vesting your Social Security benefit, but in fact, you can have your expected Social Security payments greatly reduced if someone is reporting low-wage labor to your account. So you want to clear up any double-dipping of your Social Security account.
Requesting your statement is straightforward. You will need to create a my Social Security account if you dont already have one. You can access the sign-in/account creation page here. Once logged in, you can request a Social Security statement to print out from your account. If you prefer a low-tech approach, you can fill out a request form and mail it in, and get a statement mailed to you in 4 to 6 weeks.
If Someone Files A Fraudulent Unemployment Claim In Your Name Heres What Happens
Jim Clarke of Freehold said someone filed an unemployment claim in his name. He said he’s never been unemployed.
Jim Clarke has never filed for unemployment benefits.
But last week, the father of three learned someone filed an unemployment claim in his name.
His employer received a form from the Labor Department form BC-3E to validate the claim.
Clark said he knew his Social Security information could have been compromised in past data hacks, so he wasnt surprised that his private information could be out there.
He said his employer called the Division of Unemployment Fraud reporting line and left a message. The voicemail recording specifically said the employer would not get a call back, he said, so Clarke wondered how they would know if there was any follow-up action on the phony claim.
What does this mean for me? I am horrified that my identity is being stolen and I am now spending money on things like Lifelock to hopefully cut it off if possible, Clarke said.
He also feared if benefits were wrongly paid out to the scammer, it could cause trouble for his 2020 tax return because the Labor Department would report income that he never received.
Clarke said hes also concerned that he and his employer might never know whether Labor registered the fraud complaint.
Karin Price Mueller may be reached at .
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Office Of Special Investigations
Employment Security Department’s Office of Special Investigations is committed to preserving the integrity of the Unemployment Insurance program. Our office conducts many types of audits throughout the year on unemployment claims to ensure the accuracy of benefit payments made. Individuals found to have committed fraud are assessed penalties , are required to repay the amount identified as overpaid , and are subject to possible state or federal criminal prosecution.
We are very interested in the information you provide to us about fraud. However, we cannot provide information to you about the action we take on any allegation reported to our office unless you are an individual defined in RCW 50.13 and WAC 192-15.
State regulations prohibit the disclosure of information contained in the administration of the Unemployment Insurance Program. There will be no further communication from our office unless one of our investigators contacts you.
Signs That You May Be A Victim Of Unemployment Identity Theft
Most victims of unemployment identity theft are unaware that claims have been filed and/or that benefits have been collected using their identities. Many people only find out unemployment identity theft occurred when they receive something in the mail, such as a payment or state issued 1099-G tax form thats incorrect or for benefits not received.
Sample form from the IRS.gov website: IRS form Certain Government Payments 1099-G
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You May Be A Victim Of Unemployment Identity Theft If You Received:
- Mail from a government agency about an unemployment claim or payment and you did not recently file for unemployment benefits. This includes unexpected payments or debit cards and could be from any state.
- A 1099-G tax form reflecting unemployment benefits you weren’t expecting. Box 1 on this form may show unemployment benefits you did not receive or an amount that exceeds your records for the unemployment benefits you did receive. The form itself may be from a state in which you do not live or did not file for benefits.
- While you are still employed, a notice from your employer indicating that your employer received a request for information about an unemployment claim in your name.
How To Check If Someone Filed Unemployment Under My Name
In 2020, authorities began investigating a high-profile crime ring and multi-million-dollar fraud scheme with a somewhat unusual strategy filing fraudulent unemployment claims using the names of high-profile and high-net-worth individuals.
Media reports throughout the year occasionally warn viewers and readers about tax fraud schemes, real estate fraud, and various cyber-crimes committed by hackers and scammers. But while unemployment fraud is not necessarily a new form of fraud, it is certainly a rapidly growing beast, fueled by the abundance of Americans filing for unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adding to the problem is that unemployment fraud can go undetected for an extremely long time in fact, many who have been targeted are only first discovering the identity theft as this years tax season approaches, havingreceived a 1099 form for jobless benefits. Federal authorities state that millions have already been stolen from unsuspecting victims, with cases being reported all across the United States.
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What Tools Do State Unemployment Agencies Have To Help
State UI agencies do have safety nets in place. They help to identify many of these impostor claims prior to being issued, thus protecting the integrity of the UI system at large. Additionally, some of those efforts include detection of potentially fraudulent IP addresses, suspicious bank accounts, debit card requests, employer addresses, claimant addresses, and more. However, to ensure its efficacy, these detection tools are proprietary and confidential.
Unemployment Benefits Identity Theft
You may become aware that an unemployment benefits claim was filed using your identity by receiving mail from TWC, or your employer may receive a notice that a claim was filed under your name. If you, or your employer, have information that an unemployment claim was filed using a stolen identity, you should report the ID theft claim on TWCs online portal. Continue reading this page for more information about how to report ID theft.
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Irs Information For Employers
Employers are often the first line of defense against unemployment fraud. Employers should:
- Respond quickly to state notices that its employees have filed for unemployment claims, especially if the names on the notices are not employees
- Be alert to misuse of the IRS-issued Employer Identification Number that fraudsters may use to file jobless claims
- File a Form 14039-B, Business Identity Theft Affidavit, if the companys EIN is being used to generate fraudulent unemployment benefit claims.
- Write to the IRS to close out the business tax account if the company is going out of business this will help curtail the misuse of dormant EINs.