WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor today(March 22) launched a new website for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.
The new website at www.dol.gov/fraud provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources. Site developers recruited actual victims of unemployment benefit theft to test the site and confirm its instructions were clear and easy-to-understand.
With the significant increase of workers eligible for unemployment insurance benefits amid the pandemic, state systems are under attack by organized criminal groups and others who are using information stolen in past data breaches in other systems to collect benefits fraudulently across multiple states. State workforce agencies are facing unprecedented demand for unemployment benefits while simultaneously combatting these criminal attacks.
“We understand that victims of unemployment insurance fraud are scared, confused and deeply frustrated,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training Suzi LeVine. “The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to working with state workforce agencies and our federal and state partners across government to ensure these victims have access to the resources they need along with help to clearly guide them through this difficult situation and show them how to report fraud.”
Most fraud victims are unaware that thieves have filed claims or collected benefits in their names illegally. Many only learned they were victims when they received unexpected mail, such as a payment, or a state-issued 1099-G tax form with errors or for benefits they didn’t get. Victims must report the fraud to state workforce departments to enable an investigation to occur, and reach a resolution. The site provides a government-verified directory with each state’s direct contact method(s) for reporting this type of unemployment fraud.
Administered by the department’s Employment and Training Administration, Unemployment Insurance is a joint state-federal program that provides cash benefits to eligible workers. Each state administers a separate UI program, but all states follow the same guidelines established by federal law.