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Protect Yourself Against Unemployment Insurance Fraud During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Protect Yourself Against Unemployment Insurance Fraud During the COVID-19 Pandemic

February 12, 2021

The New York State Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently announced that it identified over 425,000 fraudulent unemployment benefit claims during the COVID-19 pandemic, totaling $5.5 billion in benefits As a result of this discovery, the DOL has referred over 425,000 fraud cases to federal prosecutors and continues to work with law enforcement partners on the federal, state, and local level to hold those defrauding DOL accountable.

According to the DOL, criminals are using real New Yorkers’ identities, which were likely stolen during previous data breaches involving institutions like banks, insurance companies, and major employers, to file fraudulent claims and illegally collect benefits in the name of individuals who are not unemployed.

Anyone who receives a monetary determination letter from the DOL, but did not apply for unemployment benefits, should immediately report it to the DOL at In addition, you can also do the following:

  • Report the identity theft to the FTC.
  • File a report with your local police department.
  • Report a misused Social Security number.

Below are some tips to remember to help prevent identity theft:

  • Protect Your Bank Accounts and Your Mail.
  • Protect Yourself on the Internet and Protect Your Computer and/or Smartphone.
  • Secure your Social Security number. Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet.
  • Review your credit and bank account statements. Watch for unauthorized transactions.
  • Whenever possible, shred receipts, credit offers, account statements, and expired credit cards.
  • Create complex passwords.
  • Visit New York State’s website at to get more details on how to protect your personal information.