Unemployment Benefits Scam

Someone filling out an Unemployment Benefits application

A large-scale scam involving phony unemployment benefits claims has been making headlines. Criminals, possibly based overseas, are filing claims for benefits, using the names and personal information of people who have not lost their jobs. The investigation is ongoing, but this much is known: the fraud is affecting tens of thousands of people, slowing the delivery of benefits to people in real need, and costing states hundreds of millions of dollars.

Most people learn they’re affected when they get a notice from their state unemployment benefits office or their employer about their supposed application for benefits. By then, however, the benefits usually have been paid to an account the criminals control.

Here are steps you can take to help your business respond quickly to any phony claims and assist employees whose personal information has been misused.

Report the fraud

Visit the NYS Department of Labor for reporting instructions. The employer has ten (10) calendar days from the date of the notice to protest the claim and provide supporting documentation.


  • If possible, report the fraud online. An online report will save you time and be easier for the agency to process. 
  • Give your employee a copy of any documentation of your report to the state, including any confirmation or case number you receive. Let the employee know if the state requires that the employee also report the fraud.


Help for employees

Criminals are using your employees’ personal information, including Social Security numbers and dates of birth, to file the fraudulent claims. That means the employees’ information is exposed, putting them at risk for further harm.


  • Suggest employees visit IdentityTheft.gov. Employees can report the identity theft to the FTC and get step-by-step recovery help. IdentityTheft.gov will guide employees through placing a free, one-year fraud alert on their credit, getting their free credit reports, closing fraudulent accounts opened in their name, adding a free extended fraud alert or credit freeze to their credit report, and more.  They also will produce an FTC Identity Theft Report that identity theft victims can use to clear fraudulent information from their credit reports.