PA residents: Watch out for unemployment fraud

Regional News

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — Pennsylvanians should be on the watch for fraud as additional federal unemployment program funding becomes available, according to the Department of Labor and Industry (L&I).

L&I Acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier said fraudsters are becoming bolder in their attempts to obtain and use personal information to steal unemployment money.

“More than ever, each and every one of us must be on high alert and closely guard our personal information to stop these scammers,” Berrier said.

There has been an increase in scammers trying to obtain usernames, passwords, social security numbers and unemployment compensation personal ID numbers, according to L&I. They try to gather information by calling, texting, emailing, or messaging victims on social media platforms.

These fraudsters are also posing as L&I or other government entities to “help” claimants with issues or by posing as unemployment claimants on Facebook. The L&I will never contact anyone to ask for their username, password, PIN or SSN. They also do not communicate with claimants over social media.

The only valid email addresses used to contact the unemployment compensation center is uchelp@pa.gov and ucpua@pa.gov.

SIGNS OF FRAUD

Here are some things to watch out for. If you have not applied for unemployment and these events happened to you, you are most likely a victim of fraud.

  • If you have received unrequested unemployment paperwork from L&I’s Office of Unemployment Compensation;
  • If you have received unemployment benefit payment(s) they did not apply for from the Pennsylvania Treasury; or
  • If you have received 1099G tax forms for 2020 indicating they were paid unemployment benefits. 

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HOW TO REPORT FRAUD

If you suspect someone is using your personal info to file for unemployment benefits, complete the Identity Theft form on the L&I’s website. You may also file a report with the Federal Trade Commission online. In addition, file a police report with the municipality you resided in at the time the unemployment benefits in question were paid. A copy of this report is necessary as part of the investigation into your claim.

If you know a person who is collecting unemployment benefits illegally, including people who are working and not reporting their wages, there is an unemployment claims fraud form on the L&I’s website.

If you would like to report fraud via phone, you can call the PA Fraud Hotline at 1-800-692-7469.

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