With the Federal government offering additional compensation to people who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of unemployment claims have dramatically grown and along with that has been a very troubling increase in fraud. The U.S. Department of Labor has reported a surge in fraudulent unemployment claims across the country.
For victims of fraudulent unemployment claims, identity thieves may not stop at stealing your benefits and money. They could continue to use your stolen information for other illegal activities. It is important help protect yourself against unemployment fraud and report any suspicious activities immediately to the authorities.
How to Report Fraud
As soon as you discover or suspect your information is being used to fraudulently claim unemployment benefits, immediately report it to the government officials in the state where the claim was filed. The U.S. Department of Labor website has a directory with contact information for reporting fraud in each state. Each state provides specific guidance on the steps to follow in reporting the fraud.
For example, the Idaho Department of Labor website shares helpful information on Identity Theft and what to do to protect your identity. They also provide a toll-free tip line at (877) 540-8638 and email address Fraud@labor.idaho.gov to report fraudulent activity.
What Employers Should Do
Employers should remain alert to fraudulent activities and respond quickly to state notices that it receives for unemployment claims. If the named applicant is a current employee, the claim is likely fraudulent. Notify the employee and the state unemployment office. If the named applicant is a former employee, the employer should contact the former employee to confirm whether the individual filed a claim for unemployment benefits. All suspicious activities should be reported to the appropriate state unemployment agency. Unreported fraudulent claims can have a direct impact on future unemployment contribution rates for the company.