Harrisburg – Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) Secretary Jennifer Berrier recently announced that Unemployment Compensation (UC) claimants in Pennsylvania will soon receive correspondence with advice on registering for monitoring free credit to ensure the security of their personal data.
L&I announced in January that it would offer these services as part of an ongoing investigation into unusual account changes within Pennsylvania’s UC system. UC systems nationwide have been targeted by fraudsters since unemployment reached historic highs at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and caused an unprecedented demand for UC benefits.
L&I has partnered with Identity Theft Guard Solutions Inc. (IDX) to offer eligible UC applicants up to 12 months of credit monitoring, a $1 million insurance reimbursement policy, and credit recovery services. fully managed identity.
This week, the ministry began the process of sending out notifications about these services to all eligible people. The letter that applicants receive from IDX will contain the information required for registration and answers to potential questions, so the registration process cannot be initiated by an applicant until they have received the letter. Eligible individuals can register at https://response.idx.us/pauc/ or by calling 833-774-1231 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The deadline for registration is June 8, 2022.
“We know Pennsylvanians place tremendous trust in our agency to serve them when they need help most and to protect their tax dollars from abuse and theft. For all of us at L&I, this is a sacred responsibility, one we never have and will never take lightly,” Berrier said. “We are working tirelessly with the Office of Administration and our law enforcement partners to investigate, identify and eliminate any potential fraudulent activity. I encourage all eligible UC Applicants to sign up for these free services because we all deserve peace of mind that our personal information is safe.
L&I encourages any UC claimant who believes their account has undergone an unusual change to contact the service and follow the steps outlined below.
- Individuals can report suspected unemployment fraud by visiting the UC Benefits website and clicking “Report Fraud” at the bottom of the page to complete and submit the impersonation form. Do not log in.
- Employers must indicate that the claim is fraudulent in their response to the filed Notice of Claim.
- To report telephone fraud, call the PA Fraud Hotline at 1-800-692-7469.
L&I recommends that people who suspect they may be victims of identity theft file a police report with local law enforcement and provide a copy of the police report to the Office of Unemployment Compensation.
The US Department of Labor recommends that victims of identity theft also report their information to the National Center for Disaster Fraud. Victims should also consider initiating a recovery plan with the Federal Trade Commission.
Between March 2020 and January 2022, L&I received approximately 6.9 million applications for UC benefits, including special federal programs created in response to the pandemic. The department responded to this unprecedented need by distributing more than $48.5 billion in benefits to Pennsylvanians during this time.
During the first months of the pandemic, fraudsters initially targeted the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, a special program created by the federal government to provide unemployment benefits to people who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. and who are generally not eligible for UC. In most of these fraud attempts, fraudsters used stolen identities – obtained from data breaches outside of state government – to submit illegitimate claims. In recent months, fraudsters have increasingly targeted traditional unified communications.
In Pennsylvania, L&I and OA worked with law enforcement across the state to identify fraudsters and prosecute. The Pennsylvania System for Filing UC Claims uses numerous fraud detection measures, including virtual identity verification provider ID.me to verify the identity of all new jobless applicants. The department also recently implemented Multi-Factor Authentication, a two-step process that adds an extra layer of protection.