FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 30, 2020  

 

Pennsylvanians Urged to Report Unemployment Benefits Fraud

State and Federal Partners Prevent Scammers from Stealing $44 Million from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program 

Harrisburg, PA – Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak is reminding Pennsylvanians of the warning signs associated with the widespread identity theft fraud ring targeting COVID-19 unemployment compensation (UC) benefits programs across the nation. The federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program is the primary target of this sophisticated scam and victims are urged to report instances of fraud to L&I and local police.  

“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.”  

L&I continues to work closely with many state and federal partners, including banking and law enforcement officials. That collaboration identified more than 4,000 fraudulent claims in Pennsylvania for PUA benefits and prevented more than $44 million from reaching criminals.  

“Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funds are intended to help Pennsylvanians who lost their jobs because of the coronavirus,” said U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain. “Thieves who attempt to take these funds are taking advantage of others’ misfortune – ripping them off while also ripping off all taxpayers who fund the program. I want to commend the outstanding cooperation and coordination among federal and state agencies, and private banking institutions, that together achieved this remarkable success. The U.S. Attorney’s Office Coronavirus Working Group enables us to combine the tremendous resources and skill of federal and state law enforcement to do what it takes to bring these criminals to justice.”   

Scam Warning Signs 

Pennsylvanians should be aware of the following potentially fraudulent activities related to unemployment compensation benefits:  

If any of these suspicious activities happen to you, do not assist or confront the fraudster. 

Report Fraud

Report fraudulent activity regarding Pennsylvania’s unemployment benefits:

 

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/.

 

How to Return Benefit Payments

Individuals who receive unemployment benefits payments that they did not apply for should use the appropriate following methods to return the funds.

            Return to – Department of Treasury Comptroller’s Office

            Attn: Mark Accorsi

            Room 113, Finance Building

            Harrisburg, PA 17120

 

            Return to – Department of Labor & Industry

            651 Boas St., Room 500

            Harrisburg, PA 17121

                      Department of Treasury Comptroller’s Office

                      Attn: Mark Accorsi

          Room 113, Finance Building

          Harrisburg, PA 17120

                    

Additional information is available on L&I’s website at www.uc.pa.gov/fraud, Facebook or Twitter. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Penny Ickes, dlipress@pa.gov

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