Unemployment fraud has become a rampant problem over the last year. Not only are there individuals claiming unemployment when they are not eligible, but also there is a substantial identity theft problem. People are using programs to scam or phish to gain an individual’s personally identifying information, and then using the individual’s information to apply for unemployment benefits. No one is immune to this type of fraud, so it’s important for businesses and employees to be vigilant and report any fraudulent activity immediately.
In Pennsylvania, the Office of Unemployment Compensation has established a number of websites with information on fraud, and you are able to report fraudulent activity online. The website for businesses and employees to report fraud is here. In addition, here is the FAQ page that discusses a number of different types of fraud that can occur.
If you discover that someone has fraudulently applied for benefits in your name or an employee’s name, there are many online resources with information on managing identity theft. For example, the Federal Trade Commission has established this website to assist individuals with monitoring their credit. In addition to filing a report online, businesses should alert an employee if information regarding a working employee is received from the Office of Unemployment Compensation so that the employee can take steps to protect their sensitive information and monitor their credit.
Remember, never give out a full social security number unless you contact the Office of Unemployment Compensation Bureau directly. Organizations like the Office of Unemployment Compensation that may need this information will never contact you by phone to obtain it. Also, third party companies offering to fill out your unemployment compensation benefits application for a fee are engaging in an illegal activity – do not use a third party to apply for benefits. Finally, monitor your bank accounts and credit cards. Often, fraudulent activity can be stopped or reversed if it is caught in time. See this website for additional resources on protecting your personally identifying information.