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Unemployment Compensation Fraud: Security Measures

Interstate Tax Service  | Published on 7/1/2021
FROM: Interstate Tax Service

SUBJECT: Unemployment Compensation Fraud

Communication #1 from ITS


Unemployment Fraud in PA is an ongoing issue with the states new benefits system.  Our office received notification of over 2,000 reported fraud cases just last week, which is 20 times higher than prior to the roll out of the State’s new benefit system on 6/8/21.  The State has identified id.me as a solution to mitigate this fraud but are still 2 weeks out with implementing according to our sources.  Our suggestion for reporting this fraud remains the same as steps 1-4 below.  I’ve provided additional clarification based upon questions we’ve received this past week and additional news links below.


Unemployment Compensation (UC) fraud has increased exponentially with the roll out of the new benefit system.  Labor and Industry (L&I) is aware of the increase and are actively looking at placing additional security measures in place. The fraudsters are part of organized crime rings across the world trying to infiltrate the billions of dollars in stimulus monies ear marked for unemployment.  These fraudsters are using personal information they’ve purchased off of the dark web, which have occurred through previous data breaches.  Data breaches are in the news on a regular basis. Examples of some large data breaches include, Equifax, Adobe, eBay, Marriott International, Yahoo.

If you’re receiving unemployment information for employees who are actively employed by your business, we’d suggest asking them if they have filed for UC.  If they did not file for UC we suggest the following steps to stop the unemployment:

  1. Do NOT assume a claim is fraudulent.  Before completing any of these steps, please ensure you have verified with the claimant that they did open an unemployment claim in the state of PA. If the claimant was never employed by your company, then follow steps 3 & 4 below and assume it's fraudulent.
  2. The employee should report the fraud to L&I through this link as identity theft:   
    PA UC Benefits System
  3. The employer should complete the link at Interstate Tax Service which says, "Report UC Fraud to ITS". Please note:  If you have already notified our office and receive a Separation Information Request (SIR) for this employee, you can disregard it.
  4. Complete any fact-finding forms online in the new benefit site and state, the claim is fraudulent.  
    • Navigate to upper left and select "Menu"
    • Directory of Services
    • Unemployment Services
    • Claimants Separation 
    • Scroll down to Claimants Separation
    • Click on Needs Response (Recommended response:  For last day worked enter the date you're completing the form and select 'Still Working FT'. In the free form section state, "This claim is fraudulent and was not filed by the claimant."
  5. Most important is that your employees affected by this fraud need to know their information is now vulnerable and being used by fraudsters.

Below are some links to information regarding UC Fraud:


Communication #2 from ITS


We’re noticing through our correspondence with you that many of the fraudulent claims are now being paid out from the state.  If your employees receive any money for which they didn’t apply they should follow these instructions from the state.  More information can be found here at this link:

https://www.uc.pa.gov/Pages/Report-Fraud-Here.aspx#:~:text=Report%20Online%3A%20To%20report%20individuals,click%20%22Report%20Fraud%22%20at%20the

Please note this link has the incorrect address for the state.  The correct address is in the email below too.

How to return checks for benefits for which you did not apply.

Anyone who receives a paper check in the mail and did not file for unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania should not cash the checks. Cashing the checks knowing that you have not applied for PUA or any other UC program may be deemed fraud and repayment will be required.

Individuals should write "void" on the check and return it to:

Pennsylvania Treasury Department 
651 Boas Street
Room 400 L&I Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120



Please include a brief signed statement with the reason you are returning the check and include your printed name, address, last four of your social security number, phone number and email address.


How to return direct deposit for benefits for which you did not apply

Anyone who receives a direct deposit and did not file for unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania should not use the funds. Using the funds knowing that you have not applied for PUA or any other UC program may be deemed fraud and repayment will be required.

The funds should be returned to:

 

Department of Labor and Industry

651 Boas  St, Room 500

Harrisburg, PA 17121

 

Payments must be made by personal check, cashier's check, certified check, or money order to the “PA UC Fund”.  Please include a brief signed statement with the reason you are sending in the payment and include your printed name, address, last four of your social security number, phone number and email address.


What to do if you receive a UC-issued debit card for which you did not apply

Constituents who have received a US Bank ReliaCard in error should not activate the card. To aid Treasury’s internal investigation operations and prevent a fraudulent expenditure of Commonwealth funds, any person who erroneously receives a US Bank ReliaCard should return the card by mail. 

 

Return the US Bank ReliaCard by mail to:

 

Pennsylvania Treasury Department 

651 Boas Street

Room 400 L&I Building

Harrisburg, PA 17120


1020 New Holland Avenue, Lancaster, PA 17601