Fraud During a Pandemic – How Scammers are Using Identity Theft to Claim Unemployment Benefits

In a widespread scam, identity thieves are filing fraudulent unemployment claims and collecting benefits using the personal information of victims. Generally, the victim would be alerted to this when they receive a 1099-G form in the mail, showing benefits disbursed that they didn’t apply for or receive. If you’re lucky, the state department might contact your employer about the claim prior to it being processed. Either way, it’s important to take steps to make sure your personal information is secure.

  1. If you do receive a 1099-G, don’t contact the IRS. These forms come from your state.
  2. Contact your state unemployment benefits agency.
  3. Report the fraud to the FTC and get help with next steps.
  4. Review your credit reports. You can take advantage of free weekly credit reports for the next year at
  5. Contact one of the reporting agencies and put a fraud alert on your account.
  6. If the funds were deposited into your account instead of the scammers and you’re contacted about returning the funds/sending them somewhere, don’t respond. It’s just another scam. Instead, contact the agencies above.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a good resource for identity theft proactivity and recovery.