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In a large-scale scam erupting in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, imposters are filing claims for unemployment benefits, using the names and personal information of people who have not filed claims. People learn about the fraud when they get a notice from their state unemployment benefits office or their employer about their supposed application for benefits.

If this happens to you, it means someone is misusing your personal information, including your Social Security number and date of birth. Act fast. Here are steps that can help you protect your finances and your credit:

  1. Report the fraud to your employer. Keep a record of who you spoke with and when.
  2. Report the fraud to your state unemployment benefits agency. You can find state agencies here.
    • If possible, report the fraud online. An online report will save you time and be easier for the agency to process.
    • Keep any confirmation or case number you get. If you speak with anyone, keep a record of who you spoke with and when.
  3. Visit to report the fraud to the FTC and get help with the next important recovery steps. These include placing a free, one-year fraud alert on your credit, getting your free credit reports, and closing any fraudulent accounts opened in your name. also will help you add a free extended fraud alert or credit freeze to your credit report. These make it more difficult for an identity thief to open new accounts in your name.
  4. Review your credit reports often. Through December 2023, you can check your reports every week for free through This can help you spot any new fraud quickly.

One other thing: The unemployment payments usually are deposited to accounts the imposters control. But sometimes payments get sent to the real person’s account, instead. If this happens to you, the imposters may call, text, or email to try to get you to send some or all of the money to them. They may pretend to be your state unemployment agency and say the money was sent by mistake. This a money mule scam and participating in one could cause you more difficulties.

If you get benefits you never applied for, report it to your state unemployment agency and ask for instructions. Don’t respond to any calls, emails, or text messages telling you to wire money, send cash, or put money on gift cards. Your state agency will never tell you to repay money that way. Anyone who tells you to do those things is a scammer. Every time.

Updated September 23, 2022 to reflect the extension of weekly free credit reports through December 2023.

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to

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Denise N.
October 30, 2020
I have spent hours upon hours trying to overcome Identity theft. Someone filed an ILLINOIS unemployment claim in my name. I have had to assure my employer it was not me, lock bank accounts, charge cards, my 3 credit reports, file a Police report, FTC report, pay a lawyer and am VERY U P S E T and nervous as a widowed disabled parent. All this because Illinois can't seem to figure out how to authenticate claims? Does anyone know what information is needed to file an unemployment claim and how they authenticate the claims process? This might tell me what information of mine was stolen. IDES will not even answer the phone or call me back. I never received a phone call, text, or email so how can they process a claim in my name. Good Lord how can an unemployment claim be processed without verifying an individuals identity? Something is very, very wrong at the IDES. I lay awake at night due to the blatant ineptness of this Illinois department to allow this SCAM to occur or help those handle when fraudulent claims are made. :(
Vitrixx69n't u…
November 04, 2020
I filed a stolen identity report last year and currently work full time. I keep receiving letters from CA EDD ..I applied but after one payment I was lucky enough to go to work again . The letters keep coming and I'm worried the person who stole my identity (ex roomates) is possibly still doing this to me ...will I get in to trouble? I have proof of identity theft report .
November 09, 2020
Have been trying to obtain unemployment benefits for 6 months, plus, due to having no computer, and no transportation, and complications from COVID-19, and have had difficulty getting results
November 16, 2020
Also having the same issue. My name and SS# were used to open an unemployment claim in FL months ago and for months they have said that they close the claim but it hasn't. New York stopped my benefits and now I can't reclaim at all. I dont know what to do at this point.
November 22, 2020
Im on unemployment in pa. I have had partial for about 6 weeks. I filed 11/1 for 2 weeks then was prompted to file another week and did.I never received money or an alert that money was loaded on my debit card. And today I can use my s.s. # and pin to file but when I try to use it to check status or payment it say doesn't have the info I provided on file. Also been getting emails with a strange name not mine. I Don't know if this is related. I emailed PAUC about the money but not yet about the problem logging on.I still haven't had a response to my email. Please help
December 05, 2020

In reply to by lisamarmurph

I get partial benefits in PA too and just this week I never received my direct deposit payment. When I check on the UC website it says it was deposited but my bank has no record of it. I’m worried that a scammer somehow changed my direct deposit info. I had the exact same issue your having about logging in for additional payment info last week but now all of a sudden it’s working.
December 10, 2020
Reading through all these is terrible I have the same problem I honestly believe the problem starts with EDD not requiring identity verification at the beginning of the application instead this sends you money first and then identity verification last I have never seen any institute Bank or creditor do business this way and the biggest problem is is when it's all said and done they want you to repay the money
December 12, 2020
How does Iowa work force Let this happen they Someone committed Fraud and Talk my unemployment money for the week Now I don't have any Money So how long does it take To get my money While they decide at their own Time to get this resolved They should replace the money as soon as possible I bet TheyWill not do a damn thing
This is ridiculous
December 16, 2020
Someone applied for unemployment with my SSN in OH. I have never even been in that state. They also applied for an emergency small business loan twice, tried to open multiple bank accounts, personal loans and credit cards. I am on a mission now to stop them and find out who they are. I can’t get through to OH’s UI office. It’s madness that someone can just apply online.
December 17, 2020
Does anyone know if I can just go down to EDD in California? Have not had any luck at all when trying to get them on the phone. I need some help. Oh yeah one more thing that I need to say, and that is ID is complete GARBAGE!
December 22, 2020
Someone filed for unemployment benefits for my deceased 89 year old Mother who has been gone four years. Now I have to deal with that mess!
December 30, 2020
Can the Edd office send a letter to the country building about someone didn't receive their benefits claim but waiting on a Card to come?
Christopher Mi…
December 31, 2020
My Account been hack and my money been stolen from me I have documents showing my money have been stolen from me I call the police I have the case Number
March 05, 2021
Someone claimed my unemployment benefits what should I do
January 04, 2021
I reported fraud made a police report and called the 1800 numbers no response someone filed in my name why can’t I file for myself why didn’t they reset the application if you report fraud I’m out of a years worth of money that someone is getting away with taking
January 06, 2021
I received a letter from the Department of Labor and Employment stating a pin number for unemployment was issued to me, I did not file for unemployment. I have contacted my employer about the situation and they have had several letters from the employees on the same issue. Please note I did not file for unemployment so please don't issue any checks in my name
January 14, 2021
I have been trying to figure this part out as I noticed benefits from my unemployment account going to a canadian address when I live in mn. I stopped applying for benefits and contacted lawyers to help protect myself and further seperate myself from criminals.
Not Unemployed
January 17, 2021
I have just had this happen to me. I have done all of the above, except I cannot get through to unemployment. Any suggestions on how to get through to unemployment? Any additional suggestions?
January 21, 2021
I have been trying almost a get my edd .. I was identified already and still nothing...there is always no one to speak too.... This is and outrage.... Smh
January 21, 2021
I filed for unemployment benefits back in November and never heard another word as if it never happened. I am blocked from logging in to get any information because it says my social security number is being used by some other user ID. How can I find out if my unemployment benefits are being stolen?
Bruce bailey
January 25, 2021
got a letter from nysui that I am Entitle to $182 a week I'm retired and don't work .Can;t get ahold of person from ui
January 26, 2021
My benefits were discontinued after 3 payments only, and I was advised to file a fraud complaint due to suspected ID theft. I did as instructed both here and with my state. For over 6 weeks I never heard back from anyone. The state has now required that I pay back due to overpay (even though benefits were stopped before allotment finished.). Did someone else receive my money? How would I know? State is not responding (I filed an appeal and contacted ombudsmen both thus far to no avail) and have received this generic site by nothing related to my personal case. Was my ID stolen?
January 28, 2021
I just received a 1099g stating i received unemployment when i never filed. I did fraud on thr unemployment website but i have no idea what to do with my taxes now
January 28, 2021
Someone filed an Unemployment claim to my employer. I am the CEO of the company. This form has my full SSN. HR has responded to the State that i am still working.
February 03, 2021
For some reason, all of my email accounts have UI accounts tied to them.
February 04, 2021
someone collected uc benefits under my ssn in the state of pennsylvania. the aggravation to finding the process and the right people to notify is un freaking believable. how can someone collect in a state you don't and never lived in is beyond me. frustration to the max
February 09, 2021
Someone tryed to collect ui in my name and was denied. I try to collect ui benefits and they tell me my case has to be cleared by fraud unit.. How long does this take?? I'm out of work due to the pandemic,And can't collect Until fraud unit clears my name.
February 09, 2021
Hi we just know some body use my wife social n information to use unemployment so no idea what to do please help
February 09, 2021
We got a notice to certify for unemployment, even though we didn't file. So of course we reported it. We also got a change of address request to anothee adress in our subdivision, usps deli ed to us with the adress already changed. Should I worry about the fake address?
February 10, 2021
Someone is collecting unemployment benefits using my information I need help and how can I get all the money back to me
February 10, 2021
Well I just tried to apply for puma ark unemployment for first time and it said my ssnumber was already associated with an unemployment account wouldn’t let me go further I have been going through steps to report it but no help yet how do I find out if someone is getting it and where it is going
February 10, 2021
I just received a letter stating that I employed someone and they are claiming unemployment... however I’ve never owned a business or had employees... and they are using a phone number from 8 years ago
False claims
February 11, 2021
Can you file, if your employer gives you an option to work or go home because of slow production.
February 12, 2021
My wife just found out someone filed for unemployment in her name her boss contacted her and she took the recommended action. As her husband should I be concerned about my identity as well?
Desperate Cali…
February 16, 2021
This is ridiculous. You can never get EDD on the phone; thier identity fraud dept is only open from 8am til Noon and all you get is a recording saying they can't take your call at 8am and 7:59 it says it's closed. They told me to file fraud claim and are hiding benefits needed during covid furlough. Who can help fix this mess?
February 18, 2021
I have gotten 5 of these in the last week, all with my maiden name and all with the wrong ss#. I also got one for my dad, at my mom's address, where he hasn't lived in 30 years.
Gregory Lewis
February 18, 2021
I called unemployment few months ago and they said somebody filed under my name trying to see if I been scamed
February 18, 2021
where can I check if my number is being used? Why wait until after?
February 19, 2021
Is it safe to continue on with a representative after them asking for your social security number?? Ive never called anyone over the phone about anything, but I've recently been wanting to go through with speaking to one. I'm just scared I'll get scammed after seeing a lot over the past few months about scammers working at an all time high trying to steal lots of money. All I need to know is if it's normal (usual) for them to ask for your social security number FIRST? ... They didn't even ask for my name or say who I was speaking with before ANYthing else so I'm cautious.
HR Professiona…
February 24, 2021
Why can’t the Feds figure out how all of this information is available to these crooks? Has anyone considered if the breach is in the IRS? Who else would know your employer, social security number, pay info, address, etc.? This is insane we have had over 200 employees in our agency and counting affected by the unemployment “scam” and it seems nothing is being done about it! The employees are told to file a fraud report and that’s it. How is unemployment recouping the funds that do get sent? WHY IS NOTHING BEING DONE TO STOP IT. TELL US THE TRUTH WHERE IS THE BREACH!
March 05, 2021
Somehow someone or somebody is useing my personal information to get unemployment and somehow they file taxes in my name in two different states indiana and illinois can you please help me stop this person I never file for texes or unemployment
March 01, 2021
I received a ReliaCard from US Bank and had no idea what it was until I called them. Nothing was included to let me know it was for unemployment or that there was a scam going on. That would have been very helpful. Once I did some research online I immediately called the activation number and had them close the card. I then received a 1099 form in the mail saying I had received $1294 in unemployment, which I didn't and instructions on what to do if I had not collected unemployment. The link took me to a form to complete but need to follow up with unemployment to be sure they process and send a new 1099 out. I also put a credit freeze at all the credit bureaus and had them send out a yearly credit report to check for anything odd, filed a police report and went to the Identity Theft website to follow everything they say to do. Unbelievable mess!!
March 03, 2021
I just found out someone used my ssn to apply and get unemployment. I have the same full time job I have had for years and I am still working. Doesn't the unemployment office check with the employers by seeing who is paying payroll taxes every paycheck?! The thief just made up some fake job when applying under my name! I don't understand how this could possibly be allowed to happen.
March 05, 2021
I received a letter stating someone has used my social security number to apply for unemployment benefits. The letter came from the Colorado labor board. Yesterday I received a debit card from Colorado unemployment office. I don't understand this scam and I don't know what to do
March 11, 2021
I recently was released from my job. So I applied for unemployment, however someone already applied for unemployment using my social security number 2 months ago. I can't get through to anyone at all to talk to. Now that I need the help I can't get it because someone else is now getting my benefits and I can't get any information on this claim.
March 15, 2021
Someone filed a false claim in my name,I found out,and reported to GDOL, Indenity theft,filed a numerous fradualent claims with GDOL,Way2go Card,Police reports everything,even kept calling GDOL ,but no one returned my call,I sent in numerous claim forms to try to retrieve what was stolen from me,But I yet to ever hear back from GDOL,What should I do to get someone to help me.. Scammed..
March 29, 2021
Florida. Someone took 2 benefit payments from my unemployment account online over a month ago. I notified fraud after the 1st was taken. Notified them again when 2nd went to someone else's account. I have all bank info from both times on where it was sent. My account is locked. Have verified my identity. Still have no access. No one can help me. Called, chatted.. Don't know what else to do.
April 01, 2021
I'm victim of identify theft already , September 2020, someone hacked into my unemployment portal and changed my email address and banking information. I called several times at the unemployment office, spoke with someone from the fraud department, fill out fraud form online and I still haven't heard from anyone and it has been over 6 months now. The agent told me to go to my local office and someone can help with get my 1099-G but they couldn't help.
April 07, 2021
It has been almost a year and no one has gotten back to me...My identity was used for pua in Ohio... I still have not got anywhere... Now i can't file taxes because IRS said i filed and i didnt.. I will be glad when this get resolved.... I really need my money
April 09, 2021
I keep receiving notices on my phone that my unemployment is available and then please accept deposit and then thank you for deposit however I have not filed or received any unemployment funds. Did you get this I would like to get this straightened out as soon as possible thank you. I've also taking screenshots of their activity and now I like to know where I send them so these people can get stopped from using my identity.