What's the difference between unemployment benefits fraud and unemployment benefits identity fraud?
|Unemployment Benefits Fraud||Unemployment Benefits Identity (ID) Fraud|
Unemployment benefits fraud is knowingly giving false or misleading information or withholding information to get benefits or to increase benefits. In simple terms, it means you file a claim and purposefully give wrong information so that you will be paid.
Unemployment benefits identity fraud happens when imposters use other people's information to illegally receive unemployment benefits. In simple terms, ID fraud is when an imposter applies for benefits using your name.
Report Unemployment Benefits Fraud or Identity Fraud
If you have information that someone is fraudulently receiving unemployment benefits, or that an unemployment claim was filed using a stolen identity, you should report the Unemployment Fraud claim on TWC's online fraud portal.
Benefits fraud is when a person gives false or misleading information on an unemployment claim. You should know that failing to follow the rules can result in serious consequences, including being charged with a felony. Unemployment benefits fraud is punishable by law, both felony and misdemeanor, and violators could face serious penalties and consequences.
Examples of Fraud
You may be committing fraud if you:
- Do not correctly report your earnings and the number of hours you worked every time you request benefit payment.
- Do not accurately report gross earnings (before taxes or deductions) when you request benefit payment.
- Do not report a job separation (for example, fired, quit, laid off) that happened while you were filing for unemployment benefits.
- Do not keep your Tele-Serv Personal Identification Number (PIN) or Unemployment Benefits Services (UBS) password secure and someone requests benefits using your personal information.
- Your Tele-Serv PIN and UBS password have the same legal authority as your signature on a paper document. Do not give your PIN or password to anyone, even to a family member or a TWC employee. You are responsible for any payment request made with your PIN or password.
- Request payment of unemployment benefits while incarcerated.
- This includes someone requesting benefits on your claim using your Social Security Number and Tele-Serv PIN or UBS password.
- Intentionally give us false information or withhold relevant information.
- Use another person’s identity to apply for benefits.
What Type of Work is Reportable?
All work must be reported. There are no exceptions to what must be reported. Work includes, but is not limited to: Full-time work, part-time work, reduced hours, temporary work, contract labor, casual work, side jobs, commission-only, and self-employment profits.
- Report Your Work & Earnings
- View a tutorial on how to calculate and report earnings.
To detect fraud, we compare the information that you give with other sources to verify if it’s correct. If you don’t correctly report your work after being hired, TWC will find out.
The Texas Workforce Commission is authorized by the Texas Labor Code to investigate allegations of fraud, waste and program abuse involving TWC programs. See Reporting Fraud for information on reporting fraud, waste, or program abuse.
If you receive unemployment benefits, you are legally responsible for following state and federal law.
If you commit unemployment fraud, you must pay back the benefits you were not entitled to receive plus a 15 percent penalty on benefits you fraudulently received. In addition, you could face a variety of penalties, including:
- Criminal prosecution by state or federal authorities.
- A possible jail or prison sentence and/or fines.
- Loss of remaining benefits on your claim.
You are not eligible for any benefits you received after the first incident of fraud. For example:
- You worked during the first 4 weeks of your claim, but you did not report your earnings because you hadn’t been paid yet.
- You keep filing after you stopped working and are paid benefits for another 20 weeks.
- You are not eligible beginning the first week you gave false information all the way through the end of your claim. Meaning, even though you were unemployed for 20 weeks, you are no longer eligible because of the fraud and you must repay all the benefits.
If someone filed a claim in Texas using your Social Security number (SSN), report the ID fraud on TWC’s secure online fraud portal. If someone filed an unemployment ID fraud claim in another state, you must report the fraud to the state where it occurred.
Under “Type of submission,” select:
- Did Not File the UI Claim – Select this option to report that someone/an imposter filed an unemployment claim using your SSN.
- Did Not File the UI Claim But Now Need To – Select this option to report that someone/an imposter filed an unemployment claim using your SSN and you now need to file a claim.
Enter your name, SSN, and contact information. Upload copies of any claim documents you got from TWC, along with a copy of your driver license, which TWC uses to verify your identity.
You only need to submit the ID fraud report once. TWC will only contact you if we need more information. You may not get a call, email, or letter in response to the information provided.
If your employer gets a claim notice from TWC saying a claim was filed using your SSN and you did not file the claim, tell your employer to respond to the notice and indicate the claim was filed by an imposter.
TWC has strong protections to find and lock down ID fraud claims. This protects Texas workers and the integrity of the Texas unemployment system. In most cases, we stop the fraud before a single dollar in benefits is paid out.
If you are a victim of unemployment ID fraud, it means your personal information was exposed somewhere other than TWC. Take steps to secure your identity online by be careful about giving your personal or financial information. Treat your TWC account and all accounts like you would your bank account. If you are contacted about your benefits, remember that a TWC specialist will NEVER ask for:
- Credit card information
- Full bank account number
- A fee or payment to assist with filing for unemployment benefits
- Your password or PIN
How Employers Can Report ID Fraud
Employers may get a claim notice from TWC requesting information on a claim. If you get a notice for an employee who is still working, or for a person who never worked for you, please respond to the notice immediately and indicate the claim was fraudulently filed by an imposter. See Responding to a Notice of Application for instructions on responding to a claim notice.
If your employee gets a notice for an unemployment claim they did not file, tell your employee to report the ID fraud claim using TWC’s online fraud portal.
Warning Signs of Unemployment ID Fraud
Here are some signs that you may be a victim of unemployment ID fraud:
- TWC (or another government agency) sends you mail about an unemployment claim or payment and you did not recently file for unemployment benefits. This could include a request to verify your identity for unemployment benefits, receiving letters saying an unemployment claim filed in your name, or receiving unexpected payments or debit cards. The mail could be from any state even if you never lived or worked there.
- You get a 1099-G tax form showing unemployment benefits you did not receive. The 1099-G may show unemployment benefits you did not receive, or more benefits than you received, or the 1099-G may be from a state where you haven’t lived, worked, or filed for benefits.
- Your employer gets a notice saying a claim was filed in your name.
- While you are filing for benefits, you find out that your payment was sent somewhere else even though you did not approve a change to your payment method. This is called “Claim Hijacking” or “Claim/Account Takeover” and it happens when someone illegally changes your unemployment account and sends your benefits to a different bank account or address.
After you’ve reported the ID fraud to TWC, here are some more actions you can take to protect your identity.
- Check your credit report for suspicious activity or unauthorized lines of credit opened.
- Contact one of the three credit reporting agencies and ask that a free fraud alert be placed on your credit report. If needed, ask to have your credit account frozen. You can request a free credit report. You only need to contact one of these agencies because the law requires the agency to contact the other two.
- Equifax - 800-349-9960
- Experian - 888-397-3742
- TransUnion - 888-909-8872
- If a thief got into your bank or credit union account, contact the bank/credit union’s fraud department to report the ID theft and, if needed, ask them to close or freeze the account. If your debit or ATM card was used illegally, you should request a new card.
- If unauthorized charges show up on your credit cards, cancel the cards and request a new card with new account numbers. If an unauthorized card was opened using your ID, cancel the card and close the account.
- Report unemployment ID fraud to the U.S. Department of Justice's National Center for Disaster Fraud. The National Center for Disaster Fraud will notify the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General, which is the primary agency responsible for investigating unemployment fraud. Your report can help protect others from fraud.
Additional Steps You Can Take:
- Contact the police department in the city in which you live and get an incident report and number.
- Consult the Federal Trade Commission website to report the ID theft and for tips and resources.
- Contact the Social Security Administration office. See Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number for more details.
How to Report Identity Theft to Social Security Administration
Your Social Security Number (SSN) opens doors to a lot of your personal and financial information. Imposters try to steal your SSN to avoid paying Social Security taxes, to work in the United States, to steal money from your bank account, or for other illegal activities. To verify the earnings reported on your SSN or to request a copy of your Social Security Statement, call SSA at 800-772-1213. If you think someone stole your ID or SSN, contact the Social Security Administration (SSA):
- Visit www.ssa.gov and type "identity theft" in the search box.
- Call: 800-269-0271
- Fax: 410-597-0118
- Social Security Fraud Hotline
PO Box 17785
Baltimore, MD 21235
- U.S. Department of Labor information on reporting unemployment identity fraud
- IRS Identity Theft and Unemployment Benefits webpage
- Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft and Unemployment Benefits webpage
- Texas Office of Attorney General, ID Theft
- Texas Department of Public Safety ID Theft Information Guide
- Avoiding Scams and Schemes
Report Unemployment Benefits Fraud or Unemployment Benefits ID Fraud
More Information for Victims of ID Fraud
If you are a victim of ID fraud, we have instructions on what to do next.
What to do if You Get an Unemployment Claim Notice
If you get an overpayment notice for an unemployment claim that you did not file, you should report the ID fraud claim on TWC’s online fraud portal.
Once TWC confirms that the claim was fraudulently filed by an imposter, the person named on the claim is not responsible for any overpayment and the employer’s tax rate or reimbursement is not affected. Once unemployment ID fraud is confirmed, any future overpayment statements will be suspended. You may continue to get overpayment notices while the investigation is ongoing. You do not need to respond to each statement or report fraud multiple times if you've already reported the ID fraud using the fraud portal.
What to do if You Get a Notice to Verify Your Identity Through ID.me
Verify your ID only if you filed the claim. Verifying your ID tells us that you are the person who filed the claim. Find information on Unemployment Benefits Identify Verification.
DO NOT complete the ID verification if you did not file the claim. Instead, report the ID fraud claim on TWC's online fraud portal.
What to do if You Get a Debit Card or Check from TWC
If you get a debit card payment or a check for an unemployment benefits claim that you did not file, you should report the ID fraud claim on TWC's online fraud portal.
If you get a debit card from US Bank for an unemployment claim you did not file, you should destroy the card. Do not activate the debit card account. It is considered fraud if you withdraw benefits on a claim that you did not file.
If you get a check(s) for a claim you did not file, you should return the check(s) to TWC, along with an explanation as to why the check(s) is being returned. It is considered fraud if you cash a check for benefits on a claim that you did not file.
|See example below showing what information to include about why check is being returned.|
I am returning this check(s) to TWC because I did not file the claim for unemployment benefits.
Full name on the claim: <include full name shown on the claim>
Social Security number on the claim: <include full SSN or the last 4 digits of the SSN>
Return checks to:
TWC Revenue & Trust Management
P.O. Box 149352
Austin, TX 78714-9352
Do not include the name on the claim or any part of a Social Security number on the outside of the envelope.
What to do if You Get an IRS Form 1099-G from TWC
TWC issues Form 1099-G to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and claimants who received payments on an unemployment claim. If you get a Form 1099-G for unemployment benefits on a claim you did not file, you should report it immediately using TWC's online fraud portal.
Unemployment Identity Fraud and Your IRS Tax Return
When you file your federal income tax return, you must report income you received, which includes unemployment benefits. If an ID theft claim was filed using your SSN and you did not receive the payments, you should not report that income when you file your federal income tax return. Do not wait to get a corrected 1099-G from TWC to file your taxes. Once TWC has confirmed an unemployment claim was fraudulently filed, TWC will send a corrected report directly to the IRS. Refer to the Identity Theft and Unemployment Benefits page on IRS.gov for updates and additional tax filing information.