How To Protect Your Credit Report
If youve been the victim of identity theft, you should take action to safeguard your data identity. Free protections and resources are explained in the Fraud Victim Bill of Rights. Make sure to read your credit reports thoroughly and check for accounts you dont recognize.
What You Need to Know:
*Subscription price is $24.95 per month .
Falsely Obtaining Unemployment Insurance Benefits While Working 2c: 21
A person who is receiving unemployment benefits may forget to inform the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development Division Unemployment Insurance that he/she has begun working again. In other cases, a person could have taken on a small side job to help pay bills. Either scenario can be seen as unlawfully receiving unemployment benefits.;
Falsely obtaining unemployment benefits is a fraud crime in New Jersey and can lead to serious penalties including prison time and a hefty fine.;
These penalties imply that someone has genuinely tried to pull the wool over the eyes of the government. For those who have committed an innocent mistake, it is critical to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney who can present the facts of the case and avoid the worst consequences.;
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
Recommended Reading: What Do You Need To Sign Up For Unemployment
What Do I Do If Someone Applies For Unemployment Under My Name
We continue to track the increase in fraud through our Financial Hardship Studies. As of our latest report, 35% of consumers said they were either the targets or victims of a digital fraud attempt. As hardship continues for many families, particularly through the COVID-19 pandemic, fraudsters capitalize by evolving their tactics to match the times. Most recently, unemployment insurance fraud has become a popular scheme.
Unemployment insurance fraud happens when someone uses your personal information to file for unemployment benefits in your name. Victims of this scheme may only find out when they receive notice from their state unemployment insurance agency, employer or if they try to apply for unemployment themselves. Unemployment benefits dont appear on your reports and unemployment doesnt directly impact your credit score.
However, if someone is able to apply for benefits in your name, it means they have pieces of personal identifying information that can be used in ways beyond unemployment insurance claims, like opening new credit accounts in your name. This is why its important to review your reports for accounts that you did not establish.
If youve been a victim of unemployment insurance fraud, its important to take action quickly. Below is a guide for where to report it and steps you can take to protect your credit report information.
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 .
Don’t Miss: How To Get Unclaimed Unemployment Benefits
What Is Unemployment Insurance Fraud
Employers and claimants can both commit fraud under state unemployment insurance laws.
Employer fraud can include certain actions to avoid tax liability or establishing a fictitious employer account to enable fraudulent claims against that account. Claimant fraud can include knowingly submitting false information; continuing to collect benefits when knowing oneself to be ineligible; not being able and available to work while certifying for benefits under state law; or intentionally not reporting wages or income while collecting full benefits. Additionally, identity theft may result in unemployment insurance fraud that is not the fault of the employer or the identity theft victim.
The state is required and expected to enforce its own unemployment insurance laws.
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.
Nj Lawmakers Urge Murphy To Crack Down More On Unemployment Fraud
TRENTON Lawmakers from a Shore-area district say theyve been getting an increased number of requests for help from residents who are victims of unemployment fraud.
The 9th District delegation Sen. Christopher Connors, Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove and Assemblywoman Brian Rumpf, all R-Ocean wrote to Gov. Phil Murphy urging him to devote more resources to preventing fraud attempts.
The majority of these constituents have not filed for unemployment themselves, but have had someone file for unemployment fraudulently under their name, they wrote.
Unemployment fraud has been a rampant problem nationwide during the pandemic, as infusions of supplemental federal aid and an effort to get benefits in peoples hands faster made the money an attractive target.
Earlier this month, Wayne said 26 township employees, including three retirees, had their identities stolen and used to file unemployment claims.
The federal Labor Departments inspector general has estimated that $87 billion in unemployment benefits during the pandemic may have been paid improperly, most due to fraud. Last week, the department announced it will give states $240 million to modernize their systems to address fraud.
The state also has four ways for people to report suspected unemployment fraud: by phone at 609-777-4304; by fax at 609-292-5593; by mail at Benefit Payment Control, PO Box 043, Trenton NJ 08625; or online by filling out a form on the labor department website.
Officials Report An Uptick In Unemployment Fraud Scams Give Steps On What To Do If Someone Is Targeted
READING, Pa. | The office of State Senator Judy Schwank announced on Tuesday it has seen a significant uptick in calls related to unemployment fraud, since the implementation of the new Unemployment Compensation system.
Officials have noted that with the rollout of the new system, there has been many reported difficulties. They also note that the rise in fraud claims will only exacerbate problems people are seeing, and steer resources away from claimants who need assistance.
Schwank comments in an official statement that even she herself, as well as members of her staff, have been the targets of phishing attempts and fraudulent claims.
If anyone has reason to believe someone may have used their identity to file an unemployment claim, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation , Schwank and other officials ask they take the following steps.
Officials say to report someone who has filed for UC benefits using your personal information such as your name, Social Security Number, and date of birth without your knowledge or consent, visit the UC Benefits Website and click “Report Fraud” to complete and submit the Identity Theft Form.
They remind people however to not log in when on the UC Benefits page and reporting these incidents.
To report benefit fraud related to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance , fill out a Benefits Fraud Form on the L&I website, or call the L&I Fraud Hotline at 1-800-692-7469, officials say.
Read Also: How To Get Money If Unemployed
How To Beat A Charge Of Falsely Obtaining Unemployment Benefits
There are several ways that a person can avoid a conviction for unlawfully receiving unemployment benefits. One is to prevent the prosecution from proving that the accused was working during the period in question. This could involve getting evidence suppressed or providing exculpatory evidence .
Another is to show that an effort was made to communicate with the NJ Department of Labor about the new work. Remember: There are scenarios in which a person can return to part-time work and still receive unemployment benefits. Unfortunately, this can lead to confusion regarding when, exactly, a person should stop receiving unemployment benefits.;
Office Of The Insurance Fraud Prosecutor
On May 19, 1998, the Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act of 1998 was enacted which created the OIFP P.L. 1998, c.21. The mission of the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor is to conduct full and fair investigations to ensure successful criminal prosecutions, civil adjudications, licensing sanctions or other appropriate dispositions and to serve as the focal point for the coordination of all anti-insurance fraud activities statewide.
OIFP serves as the focal point for all criminal, civil and administrative prosecutions of Medicaid and insurance fraud. The Office also coordinates all insurance-related anti-fraud activities of State and local departments and agencies.
Also Check: Can I Get An Apartment On Unemployment
How To Report New Jersey Unemployment Fraud
IT IS NOT ILLEGAL TO WORK WHILE YOU ARE COLLECTING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS.
If you want to know how to report unemployment fraud, you must first be sure that someone is committing unemployment fraud. In the state of New Jersey it is a crime to knowingly collect unemployment benefits that you are not eligible to receive, and this is considered unemployment fraud. BUT, it is very important to note that IT IS NOT ILLEGAL TO WORK WHILE YOU ARE COLLECTING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS.
You may be able to work at a job and make a certain amount of money while still collecting unemployment benefits. When you apply for unemployment, this amount will be determined, and how this works will be explained to you by your unemployment counselor.
If you do work while you are collecting unemployment benefits, it is VERY important that you follow the rules given to you by your unemployment counselor, which includes reporting where you work, how much you make every week, etc.
If you suspect someone of committing unemployment fraud, you can contact the unemployment office to report them. You may be able to remain anonymous, or you may have to give your name and contact information to report them.
When you make your report, be sure to give as much detailed information as possible, including the following:
- Their name
Justice Department Warns On Fake Unemployment Benefit Websites
The Department of Justice recently warned that fraudsters are creating websites mimicking unemployment benefit websites, including state workforce agency websites, for the purpose of unlawfully capturing consumers personal information.To lure consumers to these fake websites, fraudsters send spam text messages and emails purporting to be from an SWA and containing a link. The fake websites are designed to trick consumers into thinking they are applying for unemployment benefits and disclosing personally identifiable information and other sensitive data. That information can then be used by fraudsters to commit identity theft.
Help stop these scams by reporting them and using the list of state contacts at DOL.gov/fraud.
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.
For technical issues with this website, accessibility problems, or to report non-working phone numbers or broken website links in the State Directory, please contact: .State Directory
What Happens If Your Unemployment Claim Status Is Zero
If your claim status is Filed, with a zero amount in the Weekly Benefit Rate , we are still reviewing your claim. Some people with a $0 balance, such as those who are self-employed, per federal law, will receive benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.
You May Like: How Do I Sign Up For Unemployment In Ohio
Enrolling In Nj Diversionary Programs
A person charged with falsely obtaining unemployment benefits could potentially avoid a conviction by enrolling in a diversionary program known as Pre-Trial Intervention . Those who enter a PTI program may be asked to perform community service, attend counseling, or report to a probation officer. The exact details will be determined by a judge based on the defendants background and the charges in question.;
If the defendant completes all the program requirements, the charges will be droppedno criminal record, no prison time.;
NJ limits enrollment and qualifications are strict. Even those who are well qualified can be denied admittance. An attorney can best assess whether it is worth the time and effort to apply for PTI or a similar diversionary program.;
Please Look Out For Suspicious Activities And Offer Guidance On How To Protect Your Personal Identifiable Information As Received From A July Press Release From The Fbi
The FBI advises the public to 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 inquires related to unemployment benefits
- Fictitious websites and social media pages mimicking those of government agencies
- Be wary of telephone calls and text messages, letters, websites, or emails that require you to provide your personal information or other sensitive information, especially birth dates and Social Security numbers. Be cautious with attachments and embedded links within email, especially from an unknown email sender.
- Make yourself aware of methods fraudsters are using to obtain PII and how to combat them by following security tips issued by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, including:
Don’t Miss: Will Unemployment Be Extended After March 2021
What Are The Penalties For Unemployment Insurance Fraud
All states are required to assess a penalty of not less than 15% of the amount of the fraudulent payment. Other penalties under state unemployment insurance laws generally include criminal prosecution with fines and/or incarceration; required repayment of fraudulently collected benefits; forfeiting future income tax refunds; and/or permanent loss of eligibility for unemployment compensation. Commission of unemployment benefit fraud may also be prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice in federal courts under 18 U.S.C § 1341 or other appropriate federal statutes.