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What you should know about unemployment identity fraud

January 4, 20233 minute read

False unemployment claims occurring nationwide

During the COVID-19 pandemic, states across the country reported increases in unemployment fraud where victims’ identities were used to file false unemployment claims. The identity thieves received the benefit monies; the victims got the tax bills.

According to a U.S. Department of Labor memorandum, it’s estimated that $45.6 billion in unemployment benefits were paid between March 2020 and April 2022 as a result of fraudulent claims.

When your identity is stolen for unemployment benefits

If you have been notified by your employer or state employment office that a fraudulent unemployment claim has been filed in your name, take the following steps to protect your personal and financial information:

How to proactively prevent fraud

If you have not been notified of any fraudulent activity but would like to be proactive in preventing future fraudulent claims, create an account with the Washington State Employment Security Department and verify your identity. This will ensure your Social Security number is tied to the username and password you’ve created and cannot be used by anyone else. Do not reuse a password from another account.

Other steps you can take to protect yourself

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