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Even more unemployment benefit fraud reported in our area

Pennsylvania – Even more frauds reports are coming in to local police barracks, with people saying they have noticed someone filing a fake attempt to collect unemployment benefits in their name with stolen information.

Each police barrack has filed at least a dozen similar cases within the past few days.

This is a widespread issue affecting unemployment programs in every state and can affect children, retirees, workers, and legitimate claimants. Criminals frequently steal identities to commit fraud or to sell personal identifiable information to other criminals on the online black market, also known as the dark web.

As a result, information stolen from one organization may be used by criminals to commit fraud against other organizations.

Scam artists are hoping to intercept your unemployment benefits card in the mail or send it to themselves. However, if you have signed up for direct deposit, you might just get the money in your account. Although this doesn’t give the scam artist access to that money, it will likely cause you a major headache as you deal with the aftermath of an incorrect filing.

Look out for signs that your identity might have been compromised, like receiving unrequested unemployment paperwork or benefits you didn’t apply for. If you get these, report it to both the fraud hotline and to your local police.

It’s important to note that if you might receive actual money in your bank account if you have previously used direct deposit. Do not spend that money or assume that it is yours if you do not legitimately qualify for unemployment benefits. You could be taxed extra for those funds and could cause yourself more trouble.

Listen to the full interview with Trooper Ronald Chewning, Troop C community service officer.

 

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Pennsylvania – The Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) is seeing an increase in fraudulent attempts to apply for unemployment benefits using previously stolen identity information.

In fact, just within the past couple of days, our local police barracks have had dozens of reports of false unemployment claims.

This is a widespread issue affecting unemployment programs in every state and can affect children, retirees, workers, and legitimate claimants. Criminals frequently steal identities to commit fraud or to sell personal identifiable information to other criminals on the online black market, also known as the dark web. As a result, information stolen from one organization may be used by criminals to commit fraud against other organizations.

Signs of fraud include:

  • Individuals receiving unrequested unemployment paperwork from L&I.
  • Individuals receiving unemployment benefit payments they did not apply for from the Pennsylvania Treasury.
  • Employers receiving notice that a claim has been opened for current personnel who are actively working.

What to do when someone files for unemployment benefits using your identity:

File a form online:
Unemployment compensation fraud, use the “Report Fraud Here” link at the bottom of the page.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) fraud

File via phone:
Call the PA Fraud Hotline at (800) 692-7469.

File a report with police:
Contact police in the municipality where you resided at the time the unemployment fraud occurred/benefits in question were paid. The incident number or equivalent proof of law enforcement investigation must also be provided to the Office of Unemployment Compensation.

Start a recovery plan with the Federal Trade Commission by visiting www.identitytheft.gov.

Note: Failure to notify Labor & Industry of the fraud could result in an unjustified tax consequence at the end of the year.

How to protect yourself against unemployment scams:

  • Never give out your personal information over email or text message.
  • Do not open or respond to unsolicited emails or text messages.
  • Never give out your personal information on websites or social media channels – especially those that claim they can help you apply for unemployment benefits. Third parties can’t apply for your benefits.
  • Do not trust or rely on unemployment benefits information from unofficial websites – always visit www.uc.pa.gov for Pennsylvania unemployment program information.