PA Department of Labor & Industry Warns of Unemployment Benefits Fraud

Jeff Oravitz
July 30, 2020 - 2:26 pm

    HARRISBURG, Pa (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - Watch out for and report unemployment benefit fraud. That's the message for Pennsylvanians from Labor & Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak.

    According to the department, an identity threft ring is targeting unemployment benefits from the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

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    “Pennsylvania takes unemployment benefits fraud very seriously and first warned the public about this national scam in May,” said Secretary Oleksiak. “These fraudsters are using personal information previously stolen from sources outside of commonwealth agencies to file for PUA benefits. Many Pennsylvanians are not even aware their identities were stolen in the past until they receive correspondence or a debit card from our UC office. I urge everyone to remain vigilant, recognize the scam warning signs, and know what to do if you become a victim.”  

    Working with state and federal officials, the department says they've uncovered over 4,000 fraudulent claims in the state keeping over $44 million out of criminal hands.

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    The department said you should watch for these warning signs of possible scams:

    • You have not applied for unemployment benefits but receive a check or direct deposit from the Pennsylvania Treasury Department (Treasury) or a ReliaCard debit card issued by US Bank.
    • You receive correspondence from L&I or Treasury about receiving unemployment assistance for which you did not apply.
    • Someone comes to your home that you do not know and tells you that their unemployment assistance check or debit card was mailed to you by mistake.
    • Someone asks you to use your bank account to deposit their unemployment assistance.
    • Someone, in person or electronically, tells you that you are entitled to unemployment assistance and requests your personal identifying information.
    • Someone offers to help you file for unemployment benefits for a fee.
    • Someone claims to be from L&I or another government agency or office and asks for a fee or personal information to complete your application for PUA or other benefits.
    • Any employer that receives notice that a claim has been filed for one or more of your employees who continued working and were not laid off or otherwise unemployed.

    If you come across any of these activities, you can contact local police or call Pennsylvania's fraud hotline at 1-800-692-7469. You're urged to not help or confront the fraudster.