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What to do if you are a victim of unemployment fraud
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Unemployment fraud in the U.S. has reached dramatic levels during the pandemic — the Labor Department inspector general’s office estimates that more than $63 billion has been paid out improperly through fraud or errors since March 2020.
Criminals are seizing on the opportunity created by the pandemic. Using data stolen from prior data breaches, the criminal makes a claim using someone else’s identity to access an increased pool of benefits. About $550 billion was spent in support of those out of work in 2020, compared with an average of $32 billion in the previous five years. States, often overwhelmed with claims, navigating new rules and using outdated systems, have struggled to keep up.
The problem cuts deep for victims, who can face delays getting their legitimate benefits, are at risk for further fraud and are left to resolve much of the problem themselves.
Experts say everyone should be on alert. Here's what you should know about how to spot unemployment fraud, protect yourself and what to do if you are a victim.