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Pa. officials warn against unemployment benefits scammers

The scammers are obtaining personal information of Pennsylvanians through social media to file fraudulent benefit claims, or redirect payments to themselves.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The PA Department of Labor and Industry and Office of Attorney General are urging Pennsylvanians to watch for fraud. They say, fraudsters are becoming even more bold in stealing personal information to collect unemployment money.

The Dept. of L&I says, scammers are trying to create fraudulent unemployment claims or log into existing ones and redirect unemployment benefits payments to themselves. The Dept. of L&I says, some of the ways scammers are accessing personal information is by phishing or spoofing attempts. They are:

  • Contacting intended victims by calling, texting, emailing or messaging via social media;
  • Posing as L&I or other government entities or groups to “help” claimants with issues so they can gather their personal and confidential information; and/or.
  • Pretending to be unemployment claimants on Facebook or Twitter and offering to help legitimate claimants with their issues via phone or email, with the goal of stealing their personally identifiable information.  

The Dept. of L&I reminds claimants, they never contact anyone and ask for their username, password, PIN or full social security number. 

Dept. of L&I says, signs of fraud to watch out for include:

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

If you believe you are a victim of fraud, there are a number of ways to report it online, by phone, or by calling police:

Online: 

Identity theft – If you suspect or know that someone is using your personal information such as your name, Social Security number, or date of birth without your knowledge or consent to file for UC benefits, complete and submit the Identity Theft Form.   

Unemployment claims fraud – If you know of individuals who are collecting UC benefits illegally, including people who are working and not reporting their wages for PA UC benefit purposes; or people who cannot work due to an illness, disability or incarceration, complete and submit the Unemployment Claims Fraud Form

Phone: 

PA Fraud Hotline – 1-800-692-7469 

Police: 

File a police report with the municipality you resided in at the time the unemployment benefits in question were paid. A copy of the police report must be provided to the department as part of the investigation into your claim. 

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