Covid-19 Brings Surge of Unemployment Fraud


Alyssa Casamento • Entre Computer Services • 3/2/2021

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many Americans have struggled with lay-offs and difficulties finding work. This has caused the national unemployment rate to soar. With the 10.1 million unemployed Americans filing for unemployment benefits has come an equally as substantial increase in unemployment fraud. Scammers are filing for unemployment benefits using stolen personas. Victims are finding out they have been targeted, as they receive an unemployment tax form IRS Form 1099-G in the mail after never making a claim in the first place. Some victims are finding out through their workplace that an unemployment claim has been filed, while they are still employed at said workplace. These claims are contributing to a serious backlog at state unemployment offices, which then further delays the wait time for individuals filing a legitimate claim.

Dealing with fraud is less than ideal. However, while it can cause delays for you claiming unemployment benefits now/in the future, you will ultimately not lose out on them all together. If you find yourself a victim of unemployment fraud, you should start by contacting both your employer (if they are not who originally informed you) and your state Unemployment Agency. Be sure to keep track details, such as confirmation and case numbers, day/time of call and the names of whom you speak to at the unemployment agency. Next, you are going to want to file a report with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Lastly, contact the three major credit bureaus to freeze your credit reports. Given that this scammer most likely has your social security number, freezing your credit reports will prevent them (or anyone else) from being able to open accounts in your name.

Given this increase in fraud, state officials across the country are working to develop methods to further combat it. On February 25th, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the launch of, a new identity verification tool for NYS. This new process will provide New Yorkers with a quick, easy, and effective way to verify their identity online before being able to proceed in filing unemployment. The state will also be launching a new web page providing guidance on how NYS residents can further protect their identity.