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Fraud & Identity Theft FAQs​

The Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) is committed to preventing and . identifying fraud or fraudulent scams. The frequently asked questions (FAQs) below provide more information on what steps to take to protect yourself or report fraud or potential concerns of fraud to L&I.  

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​What is identity theft?

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​Identity theft is a serious crime that occurs when someone else uses your personally identifiable information such as your name, Social Security number, credit card information, driver’s license number, or other identifying information without your consent.  Most of the time, this stolen information is used to obtain credit, merchandise, or services in the name of the victim. It can also be used to file for unemployment compensation (UC) benefits. 

​What is claimant UC fraud?

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​Claimant UC fraud can include knowingly submitting false information to obtain or increase UC benefits; continuing to collect benefits when knowing oneself to be ineligible; or intentionally not reporting wages or income while collecting full UC benefits.  Additionally, identity theft may result in claimant UC fraud that is not the fault of the identity theft victim.  

What should I do if I suspect that someone has filed for UC benefits using my personally identifiable information?

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​If you have reason to believe someone has applied for UC benefits, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), using your personally identifiable information, or if you have any concerns about potential fraud you can:

  • Report suspected identity theft online if you suspect someone is using your personally identifiable information to file for benefits.

  • Report unemployment claims fraud if you are aware of individuals collecting unemployment benefits illegally. 

  • Call our PA Fraud Hotline at 1-800-692-7469.

  • File a police report with the municipality in which you resided at the time the unemployment benefits in question were paid. A copy of the police report must be provided to the Office of Unemployment Compensation.

  • If you are a victim of identity theft you may also report it to the Federal Trade Commission and start a recovery plan.

Anyone who receives a paper check in the mail and did not file for unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania should not cash the checks. Cashing the checks knowing that you have not applied for PUA or any other UC program may be deemed fraud and repayment will be required. The checks should be returned to:

Department of Treasury Comptroller’s Office
Attn: Mark Accorsi
Room 113, Finance Building

Harrisburg, PA 17120

Anyone who receives a direct deposit and did not file for unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania should not use the funds. Using the funds knowing that you have not applied for PUA or any other UC program may be deemed fraud and repayment will be required. The funds should be returned to:

Department of Labor and Industry
651 Boas  St, Room 500

Harrisburg, PA 17121

Payments must be made by personal check, cashier's check, certified check, or money order to the "PA UC Fund".  Please include a brief signed statement with the reason you are sending in the payment and include your printed name, address, last four of your social security number, phone number and email address.  


If you are a victim of identity theft that has resulted in someone unlawfully applying for benefits using your information, you will still be able to apply for unemployment benefits if necessary.

What is L&I doing to identify and prevent UC fraud?

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​L&I’s anti-fraud division remains committed to preventing, identifying, and blocking scams and is continuing its aggressive efforts to do so, including:  

  • Cross matching data with other state agencies and across the country to detect fraud activity.

  • Working with the U.S. Department of Labor to prevent and detect fraudulent activities related to UC.

How can I protect myself against unemployment scams?

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​In general, 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 requests:

    • Communications related to your UC benefits from someone asking for money;

    • Someone who says they can help you file for your UC 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 messages.

  • 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 benefits.

  • 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

We will ask you for some personally identifiable information, including the last four digits of your Social Security number, when we call you, but we will not ask for your full SSN unless you call us.

​What should I do if I’m a victim of identity theft?

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​If you are a victim of identity theft, report to L&I, your local police department, and the Federal Trade Commission: 

  • Report suspected identity theft online if you suspect someone is using your personal information to file for benefits

  • Report unemployment claims fraud if you are aware of individuals collecting unemployment benefits illegally 

  • Call our PA Fraud Hotline at 1-800-692-7469.

  • File a police report with the municipality in which you resided at the time the unemployment benefits in question were paid. A copy of the police report must be provided to the Office of Unemployment Compensation.

  • If you are a victim of identity theft, you may also report it to the Federal Trade Commission and start a recovery plan.

  • Place a fraud alert on your credit reports and review your credit reports periodically to ensure no new fraudulent activity has occurred.

  • Close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.

  • Request your free credit reports and review them for other fraudulent activities.

Anyone who receives a paper check in the mail and did not file for unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania should not cash the checks. Cashing the checks knowing that you have not applied for PUA or any other UC program may be deemed fraud and repayment will be required. The checks should be returned to:

Department of Treasury Comptroller’s Office
Attn: Mark Accorsi
Room 113, Finance Building

Harrisburg, PA 17120

Anyone who receives a direct deposit and did not file for unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania should not use the funds. Using the funds knowing that you have not applied for PUA or any other UC program may be deemed fraud and repayment will be required. The funds should be returned to:

Department of Labor and Industry
651 Boas  St, Room 500

Harrisburg, PA 17121

Payments must be made by personal check, cashier's check, certified check, or money order to the "PA UC Fund".  Please include a brief signed statement with the reason you are sending in the payment and include your printed name, address, last four of your social security number, phone number and email address.  

​What kind of fraudulent practices are committed against unemployment compensation?

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​Both claimants and employers can commit fraud against the unemployment system. The most common types of claimant fraud include knowingly submitting false information to obtain benefits or increase the amount of those benefits; continuing to collect benefits when knowing oneself to be ineligible; intentionally not reporting wages or income while collecting full benefits; or continuing to collect benefits after returning to work full-time. 

The most common types of unemployment tax fraud by employers include paying wages under the table; failing to register as an employer with L&I; failing to report all employees or wages paid; and assisting an employee in filing a fraudulent claim for UC benefits.

Recently, L&I’s anti-fraud division discovered attempts by scammers to use personally identifiable information obtained from sources outside L&I to apply for COVID-19 unemployment benefits, specifically Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). L&I will be sending additional information to all claimants in the PUA system via U.S. mail on Tuesday, May 26 to provide further guidance if they did not submit a PUA application.

How does L&I detect employer unemployment tax fraud or claimant fraud?

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​The department uses a variety of techniques to uncover fraud, including cross-matching records with the Social Security Administration and the state and federal lists of new hires. L&I also investigates tips from the public.  

What are the penalties for unemployment tax fraud by employers or claimant fraud?

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​Penalties may include criminal prosecution with fines; required repayment of fraudulently collected benefits; the offset of federal income tax refunds to collect the debt owed to L&I; or the assessment of penalty weeks against the future receipt of UC benefits.