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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.

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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

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April 12, 2021
Help. Someone use my info to file a unemployment claim in puerto rico while I'm in US. he file it at March 27 while i receive the mail in 4/7. What am i going to do?? This is insane. Now i have to go through so much verify
April 12, 2021
How long does it take to get your social security number removed from the fraudulent unemployment claim so I can file for unemployment ?
Don't use your…
April 16, 2021
Got two new scams today 234-708-951-9163 there using p c h to scam people out of money
April 19, 2021
Filed all necessary information for fraud collected under my name . Now waiting for email which doesn't come so I can now collect my UI . Need the money . Keep being told to wait for email
Robert G
April 28, 2021
I was let go from my job recently and have been trying to file for unemployment. Due to fraud on my account, I am unable to even start the process due to this fraud. I have called every day and each day everyone says they cannot help me and will transfer me to a number that eventually hangs up or I get a number that has a busy signal 24/7, or they say someone will call me back. 4 weeks later and no help at all. Does anyone know who I can call to get next steps? I already confirmed my identity, but cannot get anyone to help me start the unemployment process. Any help is appreciated!
April 29, 2021
It is impossible right now to report to your unemployment office(NYS) . 3 hours later and you cannot get a human being on the line!!!!!
April 29, 2021
I recently started filing for unemployment. I got my first payment today. However I can not use my card because there is a fraud lock on it. What do I do?
June 14, 2021
Hi someone in past 2 days is sending papers of jail in my name when I have not left the house I don't have a driver's license I'm a American & is in the mail 2 times I don't even have a credit card on my name not once what is going on this is false accusations of what it doesn't say anything just I a lawyer please explain this is all liesss
maxDon't use y…
June 28, 2021
i have a son in prison has been for 5 years someone has been useing his ID to get money from unemployment in N.C. how can he get it taking care of
July 08, 2021
Someone is using my deceased brother in laws name and SS# to collect unemployment. How do I find out if the are using it for anything else.
July 13, 2021
My Pennsylvania unemployment claim was hacked into and payments re-routed to some unknown account. This happened just as Pennsylvania rolled out its new UC system. The state actually made it easier for criminals by forcing everyone to create new “Keystone ID’s & passwords”. Nobody from PA UC has responded to me. It’s so unbelievable how fraud victims are being treated.
August 03, 2021
I have gotten money stolen out of my account so many times. I've gotten new cards, changed my pin, i still get hacked. BofA does nothing to try and help the situation. They sure can make it hard to get my money back. They make me feel guilty. Who is BofA in cahoots with
August 25, 2021
If I file a fraud report with a company will they ask for my d's number?
August 31, 2021
In 2020 end year. Out of nowhere I went from $450 to $200 back to $450. Everytime I try to check on it I'm ignored repeatedly. Either way I'm tryna find out what was that about so it don't bite me one day while I'm less expecting it..
September 07, 2021
someone filed for benefits in California with my information and I live in Chicago. what do I do?
September 16, 2021
I received a letter from Ohio department of job and family services that I applied for and/or received pandemic unemployment assistance. I live in Texas. I didn’t apply for any PUA. Any advice beyond this post I should follow?? Thank you!
September 23, 2021
I have a card but I never signed up for pua
January 07, 2022
I received a letter in the mail, to my address, but someone else's name, regarding a claim for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance in PA, along with a GO bank direct deposit card (in the same adressee name). The only identifier to this scammer is the name, and a claimant ID number. Can this be traced by PA dept of Labor?