By Gary Jenkins
BAPA Safety Liaison
An unexpected consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic is the rise of unemployment insurance fraud. Unemployment insurance fraud happens when someone who has stolen the identity of an unsuspecting person files a bogus unemployment insurance claim in that person’s name. In most cases it takes a while for the person whose identity has been stolen to find out that an unemployment claim has been filed in their name.
Because so many individuals have been laid-off of their jobs due to the pandemic, millions of Americans are receiving unemployment benefits, and there has been an alarming increase in unemployment fraud. According to the latest US Department of Labor estimates, over $63 billion dollars have been paid out to fraudulent unemployment claims.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) lists these five ways to spot if you have been a victim of unemployment insurance fraud:
- You receive a debit card oran unemployment insurance letter (UI Finding)but you have not filed a claim for benefits.
- You are notified by your employer that a claim for benefits has been filed when you have not been separated from employment.
- You attempt to file a claim online and one already exits.
- You receive IRS correspondence regarding unreported UI benefits.
- You receive notice of a state or federal tax offset.
If one of the five things has happened to you, call IDES, 800-814-0513. ISDES suggests you report the fraudulent claim online at ww2.illinois.gov/ides. Do not activate the debit car and do not contact KeyBank 4. It’s also a to request your annual credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.