By Vonda Van Til, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist
Scammers are using the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to file fraudulent unemployment claims, often using someone else’s identity. Scammers may even use the identity of someone who is receiving or applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
SSI applicants and recipients who begin receiving — or appear to begin receiving — State Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits could appear to be ineligible for SSI benefits. They could even appear to be overpaid because of an unemployment claim filed in their name.
These UI fraud schemes are widespread and affect most states. The United States Secret Service is investigating more than 500 claims in over 40 states related to unemployment fraud.
At Social Security, we’re taking steps to verify whether SSI applicants and recipients are victims of UI fraud. We will not reduce or terminate your payments due to a fraudulent unemployment claim filed on our behalf. If you suspect you may be a victim of fraud, report it to your state fraud hotline at www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/UIIDtheft. You may also report suspicions of fraud to your local unemployment office.
Remember that scammers always look for a chance to exploit your fears. Don’t fall for their tactics — and guard your personal information. Please share this information with your friends and family — and let’s help each other stay vigilant.
Vonda Van Til is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan. You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at email@example.com.