Identity Theft and Fraudulent Unemployment Claim Outbreak in Pennsylvania: Minimizing your Exposure and Steps to take if You’re Exposed
(July 23, 2021) There has been a recent explosion in fraudulent unemployment compensation cases across Pennsylvania, particularly since June 2021. Fraudsters have been applying to receive unemployment benefits using personal information of others. This kind of identity theft and fraud is criminal. Chances are you have a neighbor, friend, or family who has experienced identity theft in the last year, if you have not experienced it yourself.
- Beware of any communications regarding unemployment benefits when you have not applied for them.
- Regularly check your bank, credit card, and other statements for unauthorized transactions.
- Do not respond to unsolicited e-mails, text messages, or phone calls seeking any personal (birthday, social security number, etc.) or financial (account numbers, etc.) information from you.
- If a message strikes you as suspicious, trust your gut; ask a friend or trusted advisor their opinion of the message before responding with any of your information.
The Pennsylvania Office of Unemployment Compensation offers additional tips, and answers frequently asked questions regarding identity theft and fraud. The Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General also provides helpful tips and information regarding identity theft.
If fraudsters have used your identity to submit a fraudulent unemployment claim, there are steps you should take immediately.
- Report the fraud to your employer.
- Report the fraud to your local police, and ask for a copy of the police report.
- Report the fraud to the Pennsylvania Office of Unemployment Compensation.
- Report the fraud to the Federal Trade Commission, which can help with recovery from identity theft, including by setting fraud alerts on your credit, or freezing your credit.
- Monitor your credit reports periodically (as often as every week) to catch any new fraud quickly.
It is very important that if you receive an unemployment compensation payment for which you did not apply, you return it. Not doing so may be deemed fraud. Here, you can find information on returning payment.
Remember, too, to keep detailed records of everything relating to your identity theft.
If you are concerned about a potentially fraudulent unemployment compensation claim or identity theft, it can be helpful to discuss your concerns with a lawyer. Timoney Knox attorneys are available to help discuss these serious and troubling issues with you. If you have any questions, please contact Catherine M. (Kate) Harper, Esquire or James N. Hendershot, Esquire.