FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2020
L&I Monitoring COVID-19 Unemployment
Scams Across U.S., Pennsylvanians Should Stay Vigilant and Report Suspected
Harrisburg, PA – Secretary Jerry Oleksiak
announced today the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry
(L&I) is working closely with state and federal partners to monitor
COVID-19 scams across the U.S. that are targeting unemployment benefits
programs and their claimants.
“Unlike some other
states, Pennsylvania is not seeing a large increase in unemployment scams
since COVID-19 mitigation efforts began. We are working with our partner
agencies to keep a close eye on the situation,” said Secretary Oleksiak. “Unfortunately, scammers often use times of
crisis – like this pandemic – to take advantage of people and the programs
that provide them with much needed assistance. We have many ways to
prevent, identify and block fraud, but we also need your help.
Pennsylvania workers receiving unemployment benefits to be extremely
vigilant about protecting your identity from theft. Make sure you know how
to recognize and avoid scams. Employers should also be on the lookout for
unemployment claims filed for any of your employees who are still working.
If you suspect fraud, report it right away.”
The scammers behind the
COVID-19-related fraud appear to be using Social Security numbers and other
personally identifiable information belonging to identity theft victims to
commit unemployment compensation (UC) fraud. In many situations, the
victims are unaware that their identity has been stolen.
Following are some warning signs
of a possible COVID-19 scam:
- For workers – receiving any type of correspondence
that you filed an unemployment claim when you did not file a claim for
- For employers – if you notice a claim has been filed
for one or more of your employees who are still working.
take these steps to protect yourself against unemployment scams:
- Never give out your personal information over email
or text message.
- Don’t wire money, and always ignore the following
- Communications related to your UC benefits from
someone asking for money;
- Someone who says they can help you file for your
benefits for a fee; and
- Anyone claiming to work for L&I who says they
need a fee to complete your application.
- Don’t open or respond to unsolicited emails or text
- Never give out your personal information on websites
or social media channels – especially those that claim they can help
you apply for UC benefits. Third parties can’t apply for your
- Don’t trust or rely on UC info from unofficial
websites – always visit www.uc.pa.gov
for Pennsylvania unemployment program information.
- L&I may need to call you. If you file a claim,
save the following unemployment phone numbers to your phone so you
know you’re receiving a legitimate call from L&I:
- 888-313-7284 – regular UC
- 855-284-8545 – Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
(PUA) phone number
ask you for some personal identification information including the last
four digits of your Social Security number, but we will not ask for
your full SSN.
activity regarding Pennsylvania’s UC benefits:
- Identity theft – if you suspect or know that someone is
using your personal information such as your name, Social Security
number, or date of birth without your knowledge or consent to file for
UC benefits, complete and submit the Identity Theft Form.
- Unemployment claims fraud – if you know of individuals who are
collecting UC benefits illegally, including people who are working and
not reporting their wages for PA UC benefit purposes; or people who
cannot work due to an illness, disability or incarceration, complete
and submit the Unemployment Claims Fraud
- PA Fraud Hotline – 1-800-692-7469
a police report with the municipality you resided in at the time the
unemployment benefits in question were paid. A copy of the
police report must be provided to the Office of Unemployment
If you are a victim of identity
theft you may also report it to the Federal Trade Commission and start a
recovery plan at https://www.identitytheft.gov/.
What L&I is
addition to our regular methods of preventing, identifying, and blocking
scams, L&I is also:
- Cross matching data
with other state agencies and across the country to detect fraud
- Working with the
U.S. Department of Labor to prevent and detect any fraudulent
activities related to UC.
Visit the commonwealth’s Responding
to COVID-19 guide for the latest guidance and
resources for Pennsylvanians or the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s
dedicated coronavirus webpage for the most
up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.
MEDIA CONTACT: Penny
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