Aug. 10, 2020 / Newspaper Columns

By State Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne) 

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) is reminding state residents of the warning signs associated with the widespread identity theft fraud ring targeting COVID-19 unemployment compensation (UC) benefits programs across the nation.

The federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program is the primary target of this sophisticated scam and victims are urged to report instances of fraud to L&I and local police.

L&I continues to work closely with many state and federal partners, including banking and law enforcement officials. To date, that collaboration has identified more than 4,000 fraudulent claims in Pennsylvania for PUA benefits and prevented more than $44 million from reaching criminals.

The following are the warning signs of potentially fraudulent activities related to unemployment benefits:

  •   You have not applied for unemployment benefits but receive a check or direct deposit from the Pennsylvania Treasury Department (Treasury) or a ReliaCard debit card issued by US Bank.
  •   You receive correspondence from L&I or Treasury about receiving unemployment assistance for which you did not apply.
  •   Someone comes to your home that you do not know and tells you that their unemployment assistance check or debit card was mailed to you by mistake.
  •   Someone asks you to use your bank account to deposit their unemployment assistance.
  •   Someone, in person or electronically, tells you that you are entitled to unemployment assistance and requests your personal identifying information.
  •   Someone offers to help you file for unemployment benefits for a fee.
  •   Someone claims to be from L&I or another government agency or office and asks for a fee or personal information to complete your application for PUA or other benefits.
  •   Any employer that receives notice that a claim has been filed for one or more of your employees who continued working and were not laid off or otherwise unemployed.

More information, including how to report a case of unemployment benefits fraud, is available at www.dli.pa.gov.

Representative Tarah Toohil
116th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office
717.260.6136
RepToohil.com / Facebook.com/RepToohil
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