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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 IdentityTheft.gov 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. IdentityTheft.gov 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 2022, you can check your reports every week for free through AnnualCreditReport.com. 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 April 1, 2022 to reflect the extension of weekly free credit reports through December 2022.

173 Comments


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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.
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  • 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 ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

guanabacurense1958
June 05, 2020
Gracias..!!
Dan
June 03, 2020
Similar to a credit freeze, is there a way to preemptively "block" my state from enrolling me in UI? Does this sort of functionality exist at the federal level?
Ladd
April 21, 2021

In reply to by Dan

Someone used my unployment in NYC .i filed fraud.i live in CA will i get unemployment here if i file
Concerned LE
June 03, 2020
Victims should also file a police report with their local department to cover themselves for later misuse and potential IRS issues next year.
DominicandJoshus
August 05, 2020

In reply to by Concerned LE

Someone has changed my info on my employee claims certain called my bank . but. I received a message stating that someone compromised my claim a.d I didn't get it .
Tess
September 08, 2020

In reply to by DominicandJoshus

I am having the same issue, however, I can not get the EDD to give me the information that was used to obtain benefits in my name that was sent to an address out of state. I learned this when trying to apply for myself. learned more when I called the Bank that issued pre-paid card. Still waiting for Edd to contact me.
CNGarrett
October 08, 2020

In reply to by DominicandJoshus

Same thing happened to me I've had to dig around and figure out how to handle this and try to fix it myself because the GDOL is just refusing to call me back I guess idk..but this is a very bad situation
John Taxpayer
April 21, 2021

In reply to by Concerned LE

Good idea. Only the police department, (in my area, at least) refused to let us file said report.
Adán Ángel Simón
August 17, 2020
Como puedo entrar en mi cuenta de vengo
K8 RN MSN LTC …
June 03, 2020
I have no idea if someone is using my name for unemployment benefits. I have not filed for unemployment benefits.
Like to frustr…
June 17, 2020

In reply to by K8 RN MSN LTC …

I was not employed or would even qualify for UI benefits, when corona came. Hope government unemployment office refuses to accept any application a fraudster tries to apply for. Would be a laugh on fraudster even trying. Would also think Government workers would be smart enough to see your address not changing for years and then all of a sudden a different address. In Canada, government has learned not to send cheques and insist on bank account for direct deposit & ONLY YOU CAN WITHDRAW IT.
Lupeann78
October 23, 2020

In reply to by K8 RN MSN LTC …

I want to know if there's anyone acting as their me with all my information getting unemployment benefit from Michigan
Peachess
January 07, 2021

In reply to by Lupeann78

Call ba k of America EDD card department and ask them if there's any accounts for unemployment in your name. That's how I found out.
Joseph Berger
October 21, 2020

In reply to by K8 RN MSN LTC …

I want to know if there's a appointment in my name without my knowledge
SuLaGiRl1986
October 27, 2020

In reply to by K8 RN MSN LTC …

Someone has claimed unemployment benefits in my name and got payments sent to them in checks and direct deposit payments I have no way to get to the bottom of this issue nor if I'll be reimbursed for all the benefits that were payable to me was from 2009 till December 2013
lakegirl1960
December 07, 2020

In reply to by K8 RN MSN LTC …

Hello, My boss just got a letter for the IL dept of unemployment stating I was claiming benefits. I have been working all year here and the dates dont match at all.
Wildmanwilly01…
January 07, 2021

In reply to by K8 RN MSN LTC …

Somebody's using my name to get unemployment benefits in my name
Terry
February 02, 2021

In reply to by Wildmanwilly01…

Someone has been getting my benefits since October and I've tried and tried to resolve the problem but getting in touch with someone at gdol is completely impossible
Don't use your…
February 25, 2021

In reply to by Terry

I called Bank of America and when they ran my social security number- they had no record of my account. The man I spoke to transferred me to the Edd Dept where I had to wait on the phone for 55 minutes before a rep came on to tell me no one had to try to claim UI. I would call Bank of America and they might possibly give a phone number, but I would ask them to transfer you to a live agent. You might wait a long while but at least you talk to something other than a recording. Good luck!
Ange the Angler
February 14, 2021

In reply to by Wildmanwilly01…

In the past month I have received 6 letters from 3 different states at my address with all different names. I marked return to sender and sent them back. I must be a victim of address theft.
Pool Player
March 02, 2021

In reply to by Ange the Angler

I received 2 letters yesterday at my address, but in someone else’s name. It’s scary, and you can’t talk to anyone in person. Hope it is just address theft and not ID theft.
Lito chez
August 20, 2021

In reply to by K8 RN MSN LTC …

Yeah.. I was wondering The same thing how can I find out if someone has tampered with my Unemployment?
Fernando
August 28, 2020
Disculpe no e podido contactar una cita.hace ya 15 días que me robaron en una gasolinera mi bag.pac.con mis gmail y mi dinero pero mi tarjeta no esa la traía en mi cartera.pero si tenía la información de mis contactos.y estoy buscando la forma de hacer la subscripción a Wellfargo .mi no mire es Fernando Román y ustedes me mandaron la página podría comunicarse con migo si gusta tienen mi información o perdón mi tarjeta está desactivada podría comunicarme con un servicio.al cliente gracias y buen dia
Foolnkc
June 05, 2020
I got a notice from 2 different states than where I live in. But when I called one of them to find out if payment had been made, it said they couldn't find my social security number, I'm so confused. How could they have my name and address but not my ssn???
Cinthiasantos1
October 01, 2020
Me están robando mi entidad
Normydiaz
September 12, 2021

In reply to by Cinthiasantos1

Cuando le roban ese dinero del desempleo cuando la persona lo recibe el dueño de la cuenta
Nicole
June 05, 2020
When we filed our taxes, I found out that my 1-year old sons SS# was being used and we had to send it a paper application. How do I fix this?
FTC Staff
June 08, 2020

In reply to by Nicole

If you haven't already, report the theft at www.IdentityTheft.gov. You will create an FTC Identity Theft Report, IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, and recovery plan that explains what to do next. This FTC article about Child Identity Theft has more about what to do, including checking for a credit report, and considering a child credit freeze.

ZaneD
July 25, 2021

In reply to by ZERO2024

I filed for unemployment for the first time March of 2021. My application is still pending. When IRS send me a letter in the mail stating that I may have received unemployment compensation benefits in 2020 and didn’t claim it on my 2020 tax return, I was shocked. I worked right through the pandemic as a health care worker. I realize now why I have been having a difficult time with my application. I was told by the department of labor that someone was claiming unemployment benefits using my social security number since 2020 to January of 2021. This matter still have not been resolved yet. I cannot receive any benefits until they resolve this issue. Even though I was able to verify my identity through ID.me. My email address and the emails address used are different. It’s been 4 months and I am still waiting.
Taychiv
June 05, 2020
How do you know if u being used if u get social security? I’m lost? Why would they send me this my social security gets directly deposited.
RS
June 30, 2020

In reply to by Taychiv

I get worried sick about all this fraud going on and data breaches on my credit reports & I get calls daily for account fraud with the credit bureaus I don’t know who’s who anymore
K bar
February 18, 2021

In reply to by Taychiv

Same thing I called to see what was going on.. someone ask me my name and social my mom’s maiden name I tell her she tells me it’s not rite and hung up on me
Nature_Girl
June 05, 2020
I got a text message one day from this number+1(833)4927955 I doubted if this is coming from the govt because of the content of the message. So I got this on May 28, 2020 at 6:20 pm. Message: Hi. This is MA Dept of Unemployment. You indicated you wanted help on FPUC payments (the Federal $600 additional weekly unemployment benefit). I'm so confused if this is from the gov't or from a scammer which is if I say "yes" they would ask for more details like my SSN. So please let me know if this is fraud or legit. Does the Unemployment send texts?
Txtornado
September 12, 2020

In reply to by Nature_Girl

I have received benefits since March...now in August I start getting calls,emails etc from TWC...requesting information on my claim and I have until til( any date) to contact them or decision will be made on my case...Every phone number is actually a different one( spoofing?) Or TWC automated menu doesn't recognize name of person I enter...i have called over 50 times in a month to a woman and never got thru...3 separate numbers...a p.o. box for address from an unemployment office?? Can not reach legit office numbers at all! Can't reply to emails...no offices are open to walk into for help...so now I receive letter and lost my benefits...and owe 3,000 dollars!! I have typed so many phone numbers into a site that tells you the info...( some not all) and I can't understand a government agency having so many suspicious things going on...still have no idea what info they needed!! But clearly my state believes I made a false claim and I am so livid I can't sleep!! Sick world!
fnwalupue
June 09, 2020
I received a letter and a check of $1,950.47 from Secret Survey, they asked to confirm that l have received the package via text to this number 346-348-5800 with my full name, amount received, bank name of the check, my phone number and estimated time to complete my evaluation. They asked that l deposit the check to my bank. They stated that once the check is cleared l should go to any of the selected thirty four stores of their choice to buy eBay gift cards and to pick available denominations from ($100, 200 and $500) and buy the eBay gifts cards worth of $1500. After purchase of the card to open the pack and gently peel the silver scratch off area on the card. Capture image of the card front and back, and send a text to 346-348-5800. They stated not to discard the cards as it will be used for my forthcoming assignment. They gave an instructed script to use while at the store. They also stated l can shop online via giftcards. com/
PTfromPNW
June 11, 2020

In reply to by fnwalupue

That is one of the top scams that they try to pull. I would report it to the FTC and to the United States Post Office if you received the letter through the mail. The website for the United Postal Service has a place for you to report this. Do not deposit the check it will just bounce and do not take their calls. They will become mad and try to intimidate you in to following through with the scam. Check with your local law enforcement to see if they have a fraud department that you can talk to. Good luck to you!
Lili
June 14, 2020

In reply to by fnwalupue

Don't do it! Very popular scam! You will be out of all of the money you spent and they will spend the gift cards!
Like to frustr…
June 17, 2020

In reply to by Lili

You can make the scammers very angry, by telling them "I'll go get the cards" then tell them you loaded $1500 worth of play cards to your account or your device. They usually tell you they can block your credit card cause someone tried to use it. Say I| can't pay for Google cards without my credit card. Play them along for an hour or two in the meantime - make up some good excuses to sideline them. Tell them you were on your way to Petro, Walmart or wherever they say and you just got into a car accident or tell them the bus doesn't come for half hour.
Kal
June 15, 2020

In reply to by fnwalupue

Do not deposit the check. The check will bounce after you withdraw the money and you will owe that amount to your bank ... throw it away. No legitimate company will ask you to buy cards and send them.
JB
July 01, 2020

In reply to by fnwalupue

THIS IS DEFINITELY A SCAM. SO JUST DELETE THE TEXT AND BLOCK THE PHONE NUMBER IT IS COMING FROM. IT HAS ALL THE CLASSIC SIGNS AND RED FLAGS OF BEING A SCAMMER. DON'T FALL FOR ANY OF IT!!!
Gigi505
August 09, 2020

In reply to by fnwalupue

I really hope you didn't send the pic text they wanted
jambodelta99
June 11, 2020
I have this problem and I cannot get through to unemployment for assistance. This is a NIGHTMARE! I have a job, somebody tried using my social security number to apply for benefits my employer alerted me. Unbelievable situation.
mamab
June 23, 2020

In reply to by jambodelta99

We are having the same issue - we have until June 25th to respond but we a) cannot get thru via phone and b) get booted from the online application. $6500 is what we owe - this is RIDICULOUS!! Have you been able to resolve your case? Did you hire an Attorney?
Sarah N
February 09, 2021

In reply to by jambodelta99

Same thing happened to me. I got a notice from my employer that some file filed for unemployment back in June of 2020. They were notified from Equifax. I never filed a claim and funny thing is the claim was filed under my maiden name which so haven’t used since 2013z. I am so worried I am going to get fired or in trouble over this.
Foolnkc
June 14, 2020
Okay i have received multiple letters from several states saying i have filed for unemployment benefits. Ugh!! What a mess. So do i file a police report with my local police department or what?? Am i able to get a new ssn or is that virtually impossible to get a new one. Has anyone else gotten letters saying they filed for all these benefits that they know they haven't?? I don't even know where to start. Please comment b need all the help. And thanks in advance to everyone who leaves a response...
FTC Staff
June 15, 2020

In reply to by Foolnkc

You can follow the steps listed at the top of this blog.

1. Report the fraud to your employer.

2. Report to your state unemployment benefits agency.

3. Go to www.IdentityTheft.gov to report to the FTC and get a list of next steps.