How to report unemployment benefits fraud
The Department of Unemployment Assistance's (DUA) top priority is to protect unemployment claimants and make sure money disbursed through the system is going to valid unemployment claims.
Criminal enterprises using stolen personal information from earlier national data breaches have been attempting to file fraudulent unemployment claims through the DUA system. This is part of a national unemployment fraud scheme.
If you believe someone has applied for unemployment benefits using your personal information, use our secure fraud reporting form to alert us or call the DUA customer service department at (877) 626-6800.
Upon review of your Fraud Reporting Form submission, DUA’s Program Integrity team will make note of the submission on the claim filed in your name and lock the claim, which will cease activity on that claim. In addition, this information will be provided to law enforcement as part of their investigation of the national unemployment fraud scheme.
The DUA Program Integrity team will process the reported fraud to ensure that if any payments were made, they are not recognized as income to you and are not reported to the IRS on Form 1099-G at the end of the calendar year for tax purposes. If you have already received a 1099-G related to this fraudulent claim, we will review your request and send you a corrected Form 1099-G. In addition, the fraudulent claim will not impact your ability to collect unemployment should you need to in the future and no charges will be assessed to your employer (if applicable).
Note: The IRS has issued guidance to taxpayers on identity theft involving unemployment benefits.
If you are an employer who wishes to report fraud, please email UIFraud@detma.org.
If you believe you are a victim of fraud
If you believe your identity has been stolen and a fraudulent unemployment claim has been filed on your behalf, here's some steps you can take to protect yourself:
- File a police report with your local police department. Get a copy of the report that you can provide to creditors and credit agencies.
- Change passwords on your email, banking, and other personal accounts
- Make a list of credit card companies, banks, and other financial institutions where you do business. Tell them you are a victim of identity theft, and ask them to put a fraud alert on your account.
- Get a copy of your credit report and dispute any fraudulent transactions. You can request credit reports online from the 3 major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion) or by calling (877) 322-8228.
- Place a credit freeze with each of the 3 major credit reporting agencies. Call each of the credit reporting agencies at these phone numbers or visit their websites to freeze your credit.
- Place a fraud alert on your credit file. You can do this by contacting just 1 of the credit agencies to add an alert with all 3 agencies.
- Notify your employer
- Tell the National Center for Disaster Fraud
- Take notes about all conversations and keep copies of all records
Identifying unemployment scams
DUA takes fraudulent claims seriously and we are working closely with state and federal law enforcement agencies. We want to assure you that there is no evidence of a state data breach. Protecting claimants' information is our top priority.
You may receive communications about a fraudulent claim from DUA by text message, email, or letter.
Here's some common unemployment scam techniques to watch out for:
Asking you to pay a fee
- DUA will never ask you to pay a fee for assistance with your claim
Be aware of false websites
Check the web address of sites you are on. Some try to mimic official Massachusetts sites with similar names.
- Mass.gov is the official state website
- The website for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is https://ui-cares-act.mass.gov/PUA/_/
- The claimant login website is https://uionline.detma.org/Claimant/Core/Login.ASP
Emails and text messages
- DUA may share information by email and text message but these will always point you to Mass.gov resources
- DUA will never ask you for private personal information such as Social Security numbers, or bank account or credit card information by email or text message
- The Massachusetts Attorney General's office has information about reporting identity theft and protecting yourself
- The Federal Trade Commission has a step-by-step guide on how to report identity theft and create a recovery plan
- The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation offers a consumer checklist for handling identity theft as well as a consumer guide to scams
- Learn how to protect yourself against COVID-19 scams
- The IRS has a tax tip on identity theft and unemployment benefits fraud
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