Watch out for Unemployment Compensation Scams

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Unemployment compensation fraud has become quite widespread in Pennsylvania and we would like to provide some information to help you protect your identity.

1.    Warning signs that your identity has been used to file false claim(s):

  • You received some type of correspondence that you filed an unemployment claim when you did not file a claim for benefits.
  • You received a check or debit card for benefits you did not apply for OR you receive a denial letter from the state department of labor for unemployment benefits you haven’t applied for

 

2.    What to do if your identity has been compromised: If you received a letter, text message, or email about benefits you didn’t apply for, don’t respond to the notification. Here is what to do instead:

  • Use the Department of Labor’s directory of state unemployment identity theft reporting systems to find out how to contact your state.  Do not follow links to state sites that may have come via unsolicited emails or texts.
  • Notify your employer of what has happened.
  • Access your free credit reports (they are free until April 2023)
  • Get an Identity Protect PIN (IP PIN) through the IRS to lock your tax account.  This is a number unavailable to anyone but you and the IRS.  If you enroll for an IP PIN, your tax return cannot be electronically filed without it and paper returns will require additional scrutiny to process.

 

3.    What to do at tax time:

  • Only include as income what you actually received – do NOT report an incorrect 1099-G you receive for state Unemployment Compensation benefits.
  • Advise your accountant of the situation. Be sure to save all correspondence related to the fraudulent claims.

 

4.    Steps to take to protect yourself against unemployment scams:

  • Never give out your personal information via phone, email or text message
  • Don’t wire money, and always ignore the following requests:
        • Communications related to your UC benefits from someone asking for money
        •  Someone who says they can help you file for your benefits for a fee
        • Anyone claiming to work for L&I who says they need a fee to complete your application.
  • Don’t open or respond to unsolicited emails or text messages.
  • Never give out your personal information on websites or social media channels – especially those that claim they can help you apply for UC benefits. Third parties can’t apply for your benefits.
  • Don’t trust or rely on UC info from unofficial websites – always visit www.uc.pa.gov for Pennsylvania unemployment program information.
  • If you file a claim, save the following unemployment phone numbers to your phone so you know you’re receiving a legitimate call from L&I:
        • 888-313-7284 – Regular UC
        • 855-284-8545 – Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

If UC calls you, they will ask you for some personal identification information including the last four digits of your Social Security number, but they will not ask for your full SSN unless you call them.

If you have any questions or concerns about a questionable phone call, letter, text or email notification you received, please contact our office immediately. Do NOT respond to any unsolicited electronic communication or phone calls. We are here to help!

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