If you think you may be the subject of UI fraud, let us and your local authorities know.
File a report with DES
States across the nation have seen a significant surge in Unemployment Insurance benefit fraud, largely in association with identity theft. Although there has not been a breach of information stored by DES, fraudsters are using phishing scams, previous corporate data breaches and other tactics to collect information from individuals across the country and file for Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits.
Ensuring the integrity of our programs and safeguarding the personal information of our clients remains a top priority for the Department. The DES Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is working closely with the U.S Department of Labor to gather and share information about patterns of fraudulent activity across the states, and techniques and resources available to prevent and detect fraud. These efforts include cross matches with credible sources to verify identity, the expansion of queries to flag potentially suspicious claims and the adoption of nationally recommended fraud detection strategies that analyze inconsistencies in both physical and IP address information.
In addition, DES is working with the U.S. Secret Service and other law enforcement personnel in the investigation of potential UI Benefit Fraud. The OIG and the UI Integrity Unit are collaborating to continuously vet methods and tools for the detection and prevention of fraud in association with identity theft. DES has more than doubled its staff dedicated to program integrity, and continues to add staff to meet the increase in fraudulent activity.
Learn more about UI Benefits Fraud
What To Do If You Suspect Or Are a Victim Of UI Fraud
Individuals who receive notification of unemployment assistance benefits for which they did not apply may be the victim of identity theft for those who seek to obtain fraudulent benefits. (Notification is issued to the address used in the claim when direct deposit information could not be validated. Previously, electronic payment cards were automatically issued to the address.)
Individuals who suspect UI fraud or believe they may have been a victim of identity theft used to file a fraudulent claim can submit a report to DES at fraud report online application. When reporting fraud, individuals should provide identifying information in the web form that will help locate the claim in our systems. This includes SSN, full name (as it appears on the documents received from the UI program), and mailing address where the documents were received. Individuals are advised to destroy cards they erroneously received. Once DES is able to locate the fraudulent claim, we can address the funds that were issued on the card, and do not need the card returned.
Additionally, if you believe you were the victim of identity theft, we encourage you to go to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) identity theft website, identitytheft.gov, and the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) website, to report and protect yourself from further victimization.
Unemployment Insurance Fraud Is A Felony
- Unemployment Insurance claims are audited quarterly.
- Newly hired and re-hired employees are reported to DES on a weekly basis.
- Overpaid benefits may be recovered by diverting your Arizona and/or Federal income tax refund.
- Not reporting earnings can result in legal action.
- You may be prosecuted for withholding or falsifying information to obtain or increase your benefits which may result in a fine or incarceration
- Do your part to prevent overpayments on your claim. Report earnings in the week you work (even if you have not yet been paid for your services) and report eligibility issues in the week they occur (for example, if you were not available for or able to work, did not actively look for work or refused a job during a week for which you are claiming benefits).
Penalty for false statements: It is a felony to misrepresent or fail to disclose facts or to make false statements in order to obtain or increase benefits. If you knowingly make a false statement or withhold information in order to collect unemployment insurance benefits to which you are not entitled, the Arizona Department of Economic Security may take civil or criminal action against you. Criminal action may result in a fine and/or imprisonment. In addition, you will be required to repay the amount you received illegally.
Don't Be a Money Mule
A money mule is an individual used by criminals to commit fraud by moving stolen money obtained from a variety of scams. Money mules may be willing participants, or unwitting victims. Don't be a money mule! Learn more about Money Mules from the U.S. Department of Labor.