December 6, 2021

Volume XI, Number 340

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December 03, 2021

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Unemployment Insurance Fraud: U.S. Department of Labor Launches New Online Resource for Victims

Unemployment Insurance (“UI”) fraud has exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in billions of dollars’ worth of fraudulent claims being filed across the United States. We have previously outlined steps that employers should take if their business or employees have been scammed—the goals being to quickly gather information to investigate the fraud, notify the appropriate authorities, formulate plans to address the fraud’s financial impact on the business, and alert employees to steps they can take to address identity theft concerns. On March 22, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced the launch of its new website, “Report Unemployment Identity Theft,” which is designed to provide resources for those who may have fallen victim to UI fraud.

How Employees Can Recognize UI Fraud

First, the DOL lists signs on the website that indicate when a person may have become a victim of UI fraud, e.g., they may have received (i) mail from a governmental agency about an unemployment claim or payment that they did not file for, (ii) a 1099-G tax form reporting income in the form of unemployment benefits, or (iii) notification from their current employer that it has gotten a request for information about an unemployment claim in their name.  

Steps Employees Can Take to Report UI Fraud

Next, the DOL advises UI fraud victims to report unemployment identity theft to the state where it occurred and to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud. The DOL recommends that individuals check their credit reports for suspicious or unauthorized lines of credit opened in their name. And notably, the DOL advises taxpayers to do the following with respect to filing income tax returns:

  • Do not wait to receive a corrected 1099-G to file taxes, but include only the income actually received on the tax return—do not report the incorrect 1099-G income on the return.

  • If the return has already been filed, do not file an amended return. (Additional guidance from the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) about what to do next has yet to be issued.)

The DOL also has some advice for the IRS: Do not delay the processing of a tax return while a report of unemployment identity theft involving the filer is under investigation.

What Employers Should Do Now

  • Be aware and, as appropriate, advise workers of the resources available to fraud victims, including the DOL’s new website, which, in addition to the guidance discussed above, provides a list of links and telephone numbers for the appropriate authority in each state to which victims should report UI fraud.

  • Keep in mind that while the website is a useful resource, it’s just one tool for investigating and responding to UI fraud. Our previous Advisory discusses other angles from which employers can monitor for and investigate suspected UI fraud, including heightened attention to the business’s UI accounts and cybersecurity safeguards.

©2021 Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 90
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About this Author

Steven M. Swirsky labor employment lawyer health care and life sciences attorney
Member of the Firm

STEVEN M. SWIRSKY is a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment and Health Care and Life Sciences practices, in the firm's New York office. He regularly represents employers in a wide range of industries, including retail, health care, manufacturing, banking and financial services, manufacturing, transportation and distribution, electronics and publishing. He frequently advises and represents United States subsidiaries and branches of Asian, European and other foreign-based companies.

Mr. Swirsky:

  • Advises employers on a full range of labor and...
212-351-4640
Member of the Firm

TZVIA FEIERTAG is a Member of the Firm in the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation practice, in the Newark office of Epstein Becker Green. She has worked exclusively in the area of employee benefits for more than 16 years, advising employers of all sizes, including Fortune 500 companies, other public and private companies, and start-ups, on all aspects of ERISA compliance and the day-to-day operation of employee benefit plans.

Specifically, Ms. Feiertag’s experience includes:

  • ...

973-639-8270
Jillian de Chavez-Lau Labor Employment Attorney
Associate

JILLIAN DE CHAVEZ-LAU is an Associate in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management and Litigation & Business Disputes practices, in the New York office of Epstein Becker Green.

Ms. de Chavez-Lau:

  • Assists in the representation of clients in labor and employment-related litigation involving breach-of-contract disputes and other matters
  • Regularly appears in federal and state courts and before administrative agencies
  • Advises on complex commercial litigation issues, including securities law and arbitrability.

Before...

212-351-4735
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