How can I spot unemployment insurance identity theft fraud?
- You receive a mail from the Department of Labor about unemployment insurance (commonly a monetary determination or claimant handbook) and have not filed a claim for benefits.
- You are notified by your employer that a claim for benefits has been filed when you have not been separated from employment.
- You attempt to file a claim online and are notified that one already exists.
What should I do if I get a notice from the Department and did not file for unemployment benefits?
If you believe a fraudulent claim has been submitted using your information and have not applied for unemployment insurance benefits in Vermont, you should take the following steps:
- Report the claim or by calling 802-828-4104. You will only receive follow up from the Department if additional information is needed.
- Monitor your accounts for any suspicious activity.
- Request your free credit reports via www.annualcreditreport.com and review them for other fraudulent activities.
Why are there so many fraudulent claims recently?
Fraudsters in possession of stolen personal information from recent data breeches are using this information to attempt to defraud unemployment systems across the country. To be clear, this increase in identity theft fraud is not the result of the recent 1099 incident or any other known data breech by the State of Vermont.
What is the Department doing to help stop fraud?
We take fraud very seriously. In response to the recent uptick since the start of the pandemic, we have created a UI Fraud Unit and work closely with both state and federal law enforcement partners. Additionally, we have removed the initial unemployment insurance application from the website and implemented security measures throughout the UI claim process to mitigate fraud.
If fraud has been so prevalent since the start of the pandemic, why are we just now starting to hear about it?
We have issued multiple alerts and press releases to remind Vermonters to be vigilant in the even they were victims of this national UI fraud. The Department has implemented multiple fraud mitigation tools and strategies and continues to adapt to stay ahead of the sophisticated fraud rings which are consistently evolving.
Are fraudsters targeting certain businesses or sectors?
Fraudulent activity is not limited to a specific type of employer. All types of employers and businesses have been impacted by UI fraud.
What happens after I report the fraudulent claim to the Department of Labor?
After reporting the claim, the UI Fraud Unit will investigate the claim. If the claim is determined to be fraudulent, we will shut down the claim. Because we are reviewing thousands of claims, you will only receive follow up from the Department if we need additional information.
If someone steals my identity and benefits are paid out to the fraudster, am I responsible for paying back the money?
No. You will not need to pay back the money. Your employer will not be liable to repay it either.
If someone steals my identity and uses my information to apply for unemployment benefits, can I still apply for benefits if I need to?
Yes. We will be able to differentiate between the two claims.
I reported the fraud to the Department and did not get a confirmation or any follow up. How can I be sure the information was received?
If you are filing a fraud report using the online form and receive the confirmation page after you click “submit,” your report was received by the Department. Because we receive so many reports to review and are focused on making sure these claims are withdrawn from the system, you will only hear from the Department if we need more information. We recognize this can be frustrating, and wish we had the capacity to call everyone who reports fraud but unfortunately are not able to do that at this time.
Can you tell me who filed the claim and how they got my information?
Unfortunately, we are not able to do that because we do not have that information available. Once we are able to identify the fraudulent claim and remove it, the information is then passed along to state and federal law enforcement partners for further review and criminal investigation.
Did someone get my information because of a data breech in the state of Vermont systems or Department of Labor?
No. Fraudsters in possession of stolen personal information from recent data breeches are using this information to attempt to defraud unemployment systems across the country. To be clear, this increase in identity theft fraud is not the result of the recent 1099 incident or any other known data breech by the State of Vermont.
Will any funds paid on the fraudulent claim in my name be reported to the IRS as income?
No. Fraudulent funds are not reported as income to the IRS, and you will not receive a 1099-G form if you report the fraud.
What should employers do when they receive requests for information regarding a fraudulent claim?
Employers play a critical role in helping us to detect fraud and differentiate between identity theft (when someone’s actual personal identity has been stolen) or intentional claimant fraud (when the claimant intentionally files for benefits while working).
- Employers should first confirm with their employee if they filed the claim.
- If it is determined to be identity theft, the employee should complete the online fraud reporting form here or call our UI Fraud Tip Line at 802-828-4104.
- Keep any correspondence you received (likely a separation form) in a safe place in case the Department needs additional information from you.
Will reimbursable employers be held responsible for charges associated with claims stemming from identity theft?
The Department is investigating all identity theft reports. Employers will not be held responsible for claims determined to be the result of identity theft.
Will the Department slow down the process to be sure that employers are given the opportunity to report a fraudulent claim has been filed before the first payment is made? How are you verifying the claimant before just paying them?
Employers are given 10 days to respond to the request for separation form. We are also using a variety of cross check processes to verify the identity of the claimant.
What should employees that are victims of these false claims do to protect themselves from further issues?
If an employee’s identity has been stolen and a fraudulent unemployment claim has been filed in their name, the employee should report this information to the Department. More information on recommended next steps for those who are victims of fraud can be found here: . This includes filing a police report, monitoring accounts, and placing a freeze on their credit.