Pennsylvania State Police have reported a string of Identity Thefts, Scams, and Fraud regarding Unemployment Benefits. Here’s what the signs are and how you can protect yourself.
An uptick in “Scams” have been seen across the Nation with Criminals using Unemployment Benefits as their catalyst. Mary Lauf, District Office Manager saying: “It started with the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for the folks that were self-employed. That’s when the fraud first began, and there was a lot of it.”
State Representative Jim Rigby says – he’s seen the increase among Constituents. It comes in the form of a debit card, check, letter, or payment in the mail that they didn’t apply for. Jim Rigby, State Representative 71st District adding: “There are people whose identities have been stolen. It’s nothing to take lightly. If there is an incident, and they deal with it, they really do need to report it. They can contact us, but they need to proceed through and also do the filings and the reports with their local authorities.”
Failure to notify the Department of Labor and Industry of the fraud could result in an un-justified tax consequence at the end of the year. Theresa Elliott, Deputy Communications Director for the PA Department of Labor & Industry saying: “The recent uptick in fraudulent claim attempts in PA is not the result of any type of breach or hack of L&I, but rather as part of ongoing efforts by fraudsters to get benefits using stolen information.”
Theresa Elliott says Criminals use the confidential data obtained by prior data breaches from sources outside of State Governments. Elliott adding: “Once hackers get someone’s personal and confidential data from attacks on private companies, they often sell the information to scammers sing the dark web.”
Never give out your personal information over email, text message, or social media. And don’t trust Unemployment Benefits information from unofficial websites. State Rep. Jim Rigby adding: “The frustration sets in with the constituents. We too are just as frustrated.”