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Protect Yourself from Unemployment Scams

July 06, 2020
Protect Yourself from Unemployment Scams

You are encouraged to watch your mail for notices from your local unemployment program of fraudulent applications for benefits due to a large-scale scam. As high numbers of people are filing for unemployment due to the Coronavirus pandemic, scammers are targeting those who are not applying. 

How it Works

Scammers obtain your personal information including your Social Security Number from data breaches or unsecured websites and use it to apply for unemployment benefits in your name. In some cases, they link the benefits to their accounts so they get the money. In other cases, the funds are sent to you and the thieves contact you claiming the money was sent by mistake and direct you to send it to their accounts, which can get you into even more trouble.

What to Do

If you become a victim of this scam, document the steps you take including any phone conversations with your employer or agencies.

Watch Your Mail

Typically, people find out that they are a victim of this scam by either a letter in the mail from the unemployment office confirming your application for benefits has been received, or your employer is notified.  

Report the Fraud 

  1. Contact your employer, and if you are an employer, share this information with your staff so they can be on the lookout.
  2. Contact your state unemployment benefits agency. If possible, complete an online report as this will save you time.
    Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Program
    Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance
  3. Visit to notify the Federal Trade Commission and get assistance with recovery steps. They will be able to setup free credit reporting for your accounts, close the fraudulent accounts, and put a protective freeze on your credit report.


Don’t Respond to Any Suspicious Communications

Unemployment agencies will never ask you to wire money or send gift cards or cash. Anytime someone asks you to do this, it is a scam. Instead, contact the unemployment program directly to inquire about fraudulent benefits.

Review your Credit Reports Often

Make sure there isn’t any unexpected activity on your reports by using a free service such as

To learn more about this scam and additional steps to help protect your information, we recommend visiting the Federal Trade Commission.  For more common scams, please visit

The information contained in this article is meant for general informational purposes only. You should not rely solely on one piece of information to protect yourself from ID Theft and/or fraud and in no way does SPIRE guarantee that ID Theft and/or fraud will never occur if you follow these recommendations.
SPIRE has made the utmost effort to make sure the information contained in this article is up-to-date and accurate. Under no circumstances shall SPIRE be liable for any loss or damages arising directly or indirectly from the use of the information provided within this article.
Third-party websites are provided for convenience and accessing these sites is at the risk of each user. We have no control over the material or services on these sites and we have no liability for the content, accuracy, legality or function of these sites. 

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