Employer Tips for Unemployment Imposter Claims

What should you do if employee falls victim to an unemployment imposter claim?

If your employee falls victim to an unemployment imposter claim, you want to protect your business as well as the employee. Here is an FAQ and resources that we provide our Unemployment Cost Management clients should this happen to them.

What is an Imposter Claim?

An imposter claim is a form of identity theft and is often the product of organized fraud ring activity.  For example, Jane Doe works for ABC Company. Her personally identifiable information (PII), such as name and social security number, is used by “organized crime fraudsters” to file an unemployment claim and collect benefits against ABC Company.  However, Jane Doe still works for ABC Company and didn’t file the claim.  Jane Doe had no control over the claim being filed; someone else did it using her Personal Identifiable Information.  She is the victim of identity theft.

What’s the Difference between a Fraud Claim vs. Imposter Claim?

A fraud claim is different from an imposter claim.  A fraud claim would be if a claimant files his/her own claim, but fails to properly report earnings for a week in which they also collected benefits. For example, they earned  $500 but he/she reports $0 earnings to the unemployment (UI) agency to receive an increased benefit amount.  In this example, the claimant had control over his/her own actions whereas in the case of an imposter claim, the victim had no control over that activity.

What tools do state unemployment agencies have to help?

In good news, State UI agencies do have safety nets in place. They help to identify many of these imposter claims prior to being issued, thus protecting the integrity of the UI system at large.  Additionally, some of those efforts include detection of potentially fraudulent IP addresses, suspicious bank accounts, debit card requests, employer addresses, claimant addresses, and more.  However, to ensure its efficacy, these detection tools are proprietary and confidential.

How can I help if my employee is a victim of an Imposter Claim?

Below is a good starting point of four helpful actions to share with your employees to assist them with this issue.  Please note, these resources are for the impacted worker and not the employer.  Thus, only the affected employee will know the answers to the questions purposed from these tools.  For security purposes the employer will not, and should not, know such information.

Employee Imposter Claim Tool Kit:

  1. Provide the website www.identitytheft.gov, which is administered by the Federal Trade Commission, to your employee.
  2. Download and provide the Claimant-Employer Fraud Reporting document. Prepared by our Government Team, it contains state-specific information for victims to report the identity theft to the respective unemployment agency.
  3. Encourage the victim to file an identity theft report with his/her local police department and advise them of the option to file Form 14039 with the IRS: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f14039.pdf
  4. And finally, provide Equifax Lock & Alert to your employee. Our free Lock & Alert app makes it convenient for employees to lock and unlock their Equifax credit report. Locking their Equifax credit report is an effective way to help provide additional protection against unauthorized access, and help stop identity thieves from opening new accounts in their name. (also available on Google Play and App Store)

What should I do if unemployment benefits were paid?

  • Employer must protest/appeal the benefit charges
  • Employer must request and seek credit for improper charges

Please note, if you are an Equifax UCM client, we will assist you on those important items above.

An employer must inform the affected employee that:

  • Payments of unemployment benefits went out
  • The state treasury may be notified of benefits for state income tax purposes
  • The IRS may be notified of benefits for federal income tax purposes
  • The employee should follow the steps listed in the above Employee Tool Kit (file police reports, lock credit reports)

Are you an Equifax client and have additional questions? Your Unemployment Insurance Consultant (UIC) can help. Not a current client? Register for a demo to learn how Equifax can help your organization. With best-in-class technology solutions, we have set the standard for UCM across the industry. Our intuitive platform, CaseBuilder™, reduces risk and identifies overpayments, while also providing visual key insight that drives improved win rates. Above all, unmatched tax and regulatory experts, coupled with intelligent dashboards, offers savings and protection for our clients.

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