AAFCPAs reminds clients that fraudsters continue to capitalize on hardships created by the pandemic. State Departments of Unemployment Assistance (DUA), including Massachusetts, are reporting an onslaught of fake unemployment claims, which appear to use identities constructed from a huge cache of information taken in national data breaches in recent years.
Employee Fraud Alert
The DUA continues to report cases of criminals using stolen personal information to apply for unemployment benefits through the DUA system. In some cases, employers may receive verifications of lack of work from the state that are not legitimate. However, in an effort to expedite claims processing and get jobless benefits in the hands of those that need it, filers are currently able to self-certify job loss, rather than to have unemployment verified by the employer. Employees may receive a letter at home notifying them of a claim they had not filed using their home address and someone else’s name.
If you believe someone is using your identity to falsely claim unemployment benefits, the DUA advises individuals to use their secure fraud reporting form or call the DUA customer service department at (877) 626-6800.
Employer Fraud Alert
Business clients have reported receiving emails appearing to be from the DUA, which claim the employer is past due on quarterly payments. These emails provide a link to make a payment. In most cases, the DUA does not send emails; rather they send notices by U.S. mail or post amounts due to their employer portal.
Employers receiving a notice should logon to their DUA employer portal and verify the status of quarterly payments. It is advised that employers regularly check their DUA employer portal and their U.S. mail for fraudulent employee claims that have been initiated through the DUA site. Employers should respond to DUA requests for verification timely to prevent the completion of a claim.
If you have questions, please contact your AAFCPAs Partner.