07.29.2021 - HR Tidbit

HR Tidbit - Unemployment Fraud

July 29, 2021

Unemployment Fraud (via the Pennsylvania Department ofLabor and Industry):

Fraudulent claims filed via identity theft are on the rise nationally in an unprecedented way. Here are some warning signs that a fraudulent unemployment claim was filed involving you or your company:

  • You receive paperwork/notice for an employee who never worked for you. We hear employers say: “I don’t know why this person would have entered me as their employer. I never heard of this person.” The answer is: because it probably wasn’t a person. It was probably a robot filing multiple claims at a time and choosing random Pennsylvania employers. Mark “Never worked here” on the form and send it back to us per the enclosed instructions.
  • You receive paperwork/notice for an employee who is fully employed by you. Talk to the employee to ask if he/she opened a claim. Most times, they have no idea this is happening and are unaware that their identity is being used by a fraudster. If they did not file the unemployment claim, instruct the employee to report the fraud to us on our website. We recently updated our fraud reporting links:
  • You receive paperwork for yourself. Your identity was stolen and you should report the fraud to us using the appropriate method as mentioned, above.
If you do receive paperwork, it does not necessarily mean that payments have or will be made on that claim. Regardless, it is important for you to report it to us as soon as possible. In the end, you will not be charged for benefits paid to fraudsters through identity theft. If payments are not stopped upfront, then there will be an overpayment set up when the situation is investigated. As always, overpayments credit your account and you are not charged for benefits which were overpaid.


In addition to the original information about fraud which we sent in April and June (above), we have other helpful tips for employers to expedite the process to respond regarding fraudulent claims and help the department combat fraud. We recognize that you are receiving abnormally large amount of these as a result of fraudsters filing claims. The department is soon implementing identification software to help alleviate this issue. Meanwhile, here is some information to assist:

  • When an employer responds to the notice of claim filed, the Department does not need any of the person’s real employment information for identity theft situations. We are just looking for a response that tells us the claim is fraudulent and should not have been opened. The fields do not need to be completed unless the system requires it (like start & end date, termination date), and when that happens, you can just enter the current date. Do not spend time researching actual hire dates because this is not a real claim.
  • The one field you should accurately complete is the reason for separation. For identity theft claims, you should enter the reason for separation as “Still working full-time.” When the system receives the response, it will create an issue on the claim which will prevent payment if it is not already being prevented by some other reason.
  • If you are able to log in to the new benefits system, here are the steps to submit your responses: Reporting Fraud - BenMod. From the Unemployment Services widget, click “More Unemployment Services” and then the “Notice of Separation” link. Choose the Claimants tab. After locating the individual for whom you wish to report, click on the “Needs Response” link.
  • If you are not able to log into the new benefits system yet, you can respond using SIDES e-response if you are enrolled in SIDES. Here are the steps: Reporting Fraud - SIDES
  • Employers who hired a Third-Party Administrator (TPA) to handle unemployment matters can disregard any Notices of Application. Your TPA should be handling these for you.
Other facts:

  • Appealing the financial determination is not the appropriate way to report a fraudulent claim to us, and it’s inundating our monetary appeals staff. Please do not appeal these determinations; use the above steps to report the fraud to us.
  • As the employer, you should simply respond to the claim notices but not also file a fraud report using our web site’s “Report Fraud” link. The individual affected should use the “Report Fraud” link to file a report.
  • If a payment has already been made on that claim, payments will continue every other week until a staff member is able to deny the claim.

FocusHRO Banner