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.
Are You Reporting Possible Fraudulent Activity By Someone Else
You do not need to provide your name or any other identifying information in order to file a complaint in regards to unemployment insurance fraud. However, we will not be able to contact you if we need to seek additional information about your complaint if you choose to remain anonymous.
Please provide as much detailed information as possible concerning your allegations, including:
- The name and address of the individual or business suspected of committing fraud
- If the complaint is in regards to an individual, if available, include the individuals SSN and the name of the business where the individual has been employed over the last year
- Describe your complaint in detail and provide dates if possible
Definitions And Examples Of Reportable Violations
The Texas Workforce Commission is authorized by the Texas Labor Code to investigate allegations of fraud, waste and program abuse involving TWC programs.
Fraud is a willful act or course of deception, or an intentional concealment, omission, or perversion of truth, with the intent to obtain a material benefit or service for that person or another person, for which the person may not be eligible.
Waste is any practice that a reasonably prudent person would deem careless or that would allow inefficient use of resources, items or services. Waste includes incurring unnecessary costs because of inefficient or ineffective practices, systems, or controls.
Abuse is the intentional, wrongful or improper use or destruction of state resources, or a seriously improper practice that does not involve prosecutable fraud. Abuse may include misapplication or misuse of public resources.
Theft is the unlawful appropriation of property with the intent to deprive the owner of that property.
Reportable violations include, but are not limited to, the following examples:
The Commission may refer investigative results to the appropriate district or county attorney. The Commission may also provide this information to the United States Department of Labor and the United States Department of Justice or other federal or state agencies.
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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.
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
It Is A Hassle But Dont Wait To Report:
This is a hassle. Each state handles unemployment fraud cases differently, and the FTC recommends you document all confirmation and case numbers, along with the names of who you speak to at your state unemployment agency. Many unemployment departments are overwhelmed with reports of fraudulent claims, and you may encounter long delays to report and process your case. You may also be asked to provide documentation to support your report, which can be time-consuming and add stress to an already stressful situation. Despite the hassle, it is far better to address the situation now: while it is unlikely you would lose out on any benefits as the result of a fraud, failing to address the situation immediately could result in a major delay to your benefits at the time you need them the most!
For more information, go to or www.dol.gov.
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How Are Fraudsters Doing It
Criminals are using real New Yorkersâ identities â likely stolen during previous data breaches involving institutions like banks, insurance companies, and major employersâ to file fraudulent claims and illegally collect benefits in the name of individuals who are not unemployed.
In response to this uptick in fraudulent claims, the Department of Labor Commissioner and Department of Financial Services have launched a public service announcement campaign, educating New Yorkers about how to protect themselves against identity theft.
Types Of Provider Fraud:
Providers: Includes physicians, dentists, pharmacists, home care providers, mental health providers, durable medical equipment suppliers, ambulance companies, medical transportation companies, hospitals nursing homes, and day care providers.
- Billing for nonexistent or unnecessary medical services, such as x-rays, laboratory tests or drugs that were never dispensed.
- Billing for more expensive products or labor intensive services than were provided.
- Paying kickbacks or providing gifts and other incentives to third parties in exchange for business or referrals to a particular doctor or hospital.
- Inflating of claimed mileage by transportation companies in order to receive greater reimbursement.
- Billing Medicaid for transportation to non-Medicaid services.
- Billing an insurance carrier or patient for the cost of a name brand prescription when a lower costing generic substitute or an over-the-counter drug was instead supplied.
- Deliberately applying for duplicate reimbursement double billing.
- Billing for more days in a hospital or nursing home than the patient actually stayed.
- Billing services for patients who have died.
- Billing related services separately to charge a higher amount than if services were combined and billed as one service.
- Billing for used items as new items by durable medical equipment companies.
- Continuing to send recipients medical supplies when it is no longer medically necessary.
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Notify & Help The Employee
Notify the affected employee if theyre unaware of the fraudulent claims made in their name. Then help them file the necessary reports and protect their information from future breaches.
Report identity theft
- Protect their Federal tax returns
- Visit IdentityTheft.gov for more information and tips
4. Consider the possibility of an organization-wide incident
If multiple employees at your organization fall victim to unemployment fraud, you may have experienced a data breach. For instance, someone may have gained unauthorized access to your system and your employees PII.
If you suspect a large-scale incident like this, notify your insurance carrier and legal advisors as soon as possible.
Follow Security Best Practices
Incorporating standard security practices into your everyday operations can help keep your data secure. You and your employees should:
- Create strong passwords and update them regularly
- Use a Virtual Private Network to securely access company documents and information
- Require multi-factor authentication to access the VPN or any software programs with PII
- Automatically log out of systems after brief periods of inactivity
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Learn The Behavior Of Fraudsters
According to Sontiq, fraudsters often draw unemployment benefits using more than one person’s identity, leading to a spike of activity in specific cities or states. It’s also not uncommon for the scammers to file in multiple locations, meaning your name could show up in a totally random place. Look out for unexpected letters or 1099-G tax forms from any state’s unemployment insurance office, not just the state you live in.
Taxpayers might also learn of fraud, or attempted fraud, in their name when they file taxes. For instance, the IRS might alert you after you file that you didn’t claim all of your income from 2020, when in fact you did. If this happens, it could be a sign that someone drew unemployment benefits in your name.
Where Do I Mail My Unemployment Application To
Mail your request to Unemployment Insurance Division, NYS Department of Labor, P.O. Box 1195, Albany, NY 12201. Be sure to write your Social Security number on your request. Next Section
We have compiled the address, phone number and fax number of every NYS unemployment office. You may contact these offices to get answers to questions about unemployment eligibility, filing an New York unemployment claim for eligibility, and checking on the status of a previously completed unemployment claim.
These offices will aid you in giving up to date information relating to unemployment benefits eligibility, assistance in filing a claim, rates etc. Please note that this website is owned and operated independently and is just a portal to arm you with more knowledge about unemployment.
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A Person Who Makes A Mistake Or Has No Intent To Commit A Crime Should Not Have Their Life Ruined With A Criminal Conviction
In January of 2020, the Attorney General announced the creation of a Task Force for investigating and prosecuting allegations of fraud in Michigans unemployment insurance program. The Task Force is comprised of the Attorney Generals Office, the Michigan State Police, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Office of Inspector General, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, the Michigan Department of Management & Budget, and the Michigan Department of Treasury. With all of these agencies combined power, a person accused of unemployment fraud will need an equally powerful defense attorney to help them avoid charges or a conviction, if possible, and get out of a harsh sentence.
Reporting Unemployment Identity Theft
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Victims: Reporting Unemployment Insurance Fraud
IDES is aware of phishing schemes targeting Illinoisans. Please note that individuals will never receive a text message from IDES seeking personally identifiable information, like your social security or drivers license numbers. For more info on phishing schemes please visit the FTC website.
Unemployment Insurance Identity Theft Fraud
Identity thieves and hackers have long known how to use stolen identities to commit fraud for example, to open a new credit card or file a false tax return and criminals using stolen identities to defraud public assistance programs is not new. In fact, such schemes are so pervasive that federal rules require Illinois to have staff dedicated to preventing and stopping fraudulent activity in the Unemployment Insurance system.
IDES partners with local and federal law enforcement agents, the Department of Labors Office of Inspector General, Attorney General, States Attorney and US Attorneys Offices to help us in our fight against fraud.
Please take the time to review the information below, including how to spot UI identity theft, how to report identity theft to IDES, and what happens after you contact the agency.
How can I spot unemployment insurance identity theft?
- Report the fraudulent claim here.
- DO NOT activate the debit card that was mailed to you.
- DO NOT contact KeyBank.
- Request your free credit reports via www.annualcreditreport.com and review them for other fraudulent activities.
Victims Of Identity Theft
If you receive mail or a Form 1099G from the EDD, but you did not file a claim for benefits and you think someone else filed a claim under your name, address, or Social Security number, file a fraud report:
- Benefit Fraud â Visit Ask EDD and select the Report Fraud category.
- Form 1099G â Visit Ask EDD and select the Form 1099G category or call 1-866-401-2849, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on state holidays.
If we find you were a victim of fraud, we will remove the claim from your Social Security number and send you an updated 1099G, if needed. Review IRS tax guidance on benefit identity theft.
For more information about protecting yourself from identity theft, review the California Attorney Generalâs Identity Theft Information Sheets and .
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I Want To Report A Fraudulent Claim Or Identity Theft Against My Company And/or My Employee What Should I Do
If you have found your company or employee is a victim of UI fraud or Identity Theft, there are several ways to report to UI:
Email Text Messages & Social Media
NYS DOL uses emails, text messages and social media to communicate with claimants throughout the application process and benefit period. Some fraudsters are posing as NYS DOL through fraudulent emails, text messages, and social media accounts to prey on New Yorkers who need assistance. Refer to the following tips about communication from NYS DOL.
NYS DOL uses email to provide updates, allow claimants to certify for backdated benefits, provide reemployment services, and more. To avoid becoming a victim of fraud, double-check the email address from all emails you receive. If an email appears fraudulent, it may be look out for misspellings, suspicious links and unusual messaging. If you are unsure if an email is from us, reach out to NYS DOL to confirm.
Find out more about DocuSign emails from NYS DOL.
NYS DOL uses text messages to provide updates and allow claimants to certify for backdated benefits.
Text messages from NYS DOL will only come via DocuSign or from the numbers 468-311 or 22751.
Watch out for SMShing attempts where fraudsters use text messages to lure you into calling back a fraudulent phone number, visiting fraudulent websites, or downloading malicious content via phone or web.
Find out more about DocuSign text messages from NYS DOL.
Social MediaNYS DOL uses social media to provide updates and answer questions.
The only verified social media accounts associated with NYS DOL are the following:
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How To Report Unemployment Benefits Fraud
The Department of Unemployment Assistance’s top priority is to protect unemployment claimants and make sure money disbursed through the system is going to valid unemployment claims.
Upon review of your Fraud Reporting Form submission, DUAs Program Integrity team will make note of the submission on the claim filed in your name and lock the claim, which will cease activity on that claim. In addition, this information will be provided to law enforcement as part of their investigation of the national unemployment fraud scheme.
The DUA Program Integrity team will process the reported fraud to ensure that if any payments were made, they are not recognized as income to you and are not reported to the IRS on Form 1099-G at the end of the calendar year for tax purposes. If you have already received a 1099-G related to this fraudulent claim, we will review your request and send you a corrected Form 1099-G. In addition, the fraudulent claim will not impact your ability to collect unemployment should you need to in the future and no charges will be assessed to your employer .
If you are an employer who wishes to report fraud, please email .