05/24/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/24/2020 12:55
L&I's Anti-Fraud Division Uncovers Attempted COVID-19 Unemployment Scams, None of L&I's Systems or Data Were Breached
Pennsylvanians Urged to Report Known or Suspected Identify Thefts Immediately
Harrisburg, PA - Secretary Jerry Oleksiak today announced the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry's (L&I) anti-fraud division has discovered attempts by scammers to try and bilk COVID-19 unemployment benefits using personal information obtained from sources outside of L&I. The scammers are using this personal information to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits - no L&I systems or data have been compromised.
'We have been on very high alert since reports began surfacing recently of scammers targeting unemployment benefits programs across the country. We are working closely with other state and federal agencies, as well as law enforcement, to investigate these incidents,' said Oleksiak. 'I want to assure everyone, particularly people who have submitted information to L&I through our unemployment compensation programs, that none of our programs or data have been breached.
'These fraudsters are using personal information that they have obtained without permission from other sources to file for PUA benefits and route their payments to their own bank accounts. It is possible that many Pennsylvanians are not aware their identities were previously stolen and should keep a close eye on their credit rating, as well as remain vigilant in protecting their personal information.'
L&I will be sending additional information to all PUA claimants via U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday to ensure they applied and confirm that their personal information has not been compromised.
Anyone who receives a paper check in the mail and did not file for unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania should notcash the checks. 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 notuse the funds. The funds should be returned to:
Department of Labor & 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.
Cashing the checks or using direct deposited funds knowing that you have not applied for PUA or any other UC program may be deemed fraud and repayment will be required.
We will be sure to provide important information and alerts for Pennsylvanians as this situation evolves.
L&I's anti-fraud division remains committed to preventing, identifying, and blocking scams and is continuing its aggressive efforts to do so, including:
Report fraudulent activity regarding Pennsylvania's UC 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/Opens In A New Window.
The Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office has also provided some helpful tips and instructions to consumers to check your credit more often through the COVID-19 emergency.
Recognize and Avoid General UC Scams
Take these additional steps to protect yourself against general unemployment scams:
MEDIA CONTACT: Penny Ickes, [email protected]
# # #