By District Attorney Summer Stephan
The figure is astounding – more than $11 billion in unemployment funds bilked from the state’s Employment Development Department. Greedy cheaters and prisoners lied about who they were to receive benefits as claims soared amid the pandemic. At the same time, we saw deserving recipients of EDD struggle to get their much-needed payments. My office is working hard to bring accountability to prisoners who stole money through fraud. In the meantime, we want to provide you with information to keep you safe from becoming a victim of fraud.
Unemployment payments are usually deposited directly into bank accounts – the same is true for imposters fraudulently claiming benefits. But sometimes payments get sent to the real person’s account, which makes bad actors double down on their fraud.
What to lookout for if you receive unsolicited unemployment benefits:
Here’s what to do if you find yourself in this situation:
Now that you know how to spot unemployment scams, here are some tips to avoid them:
If you get an unemployment tax form (Form 1099-G) but never applied or received unemployment benefits, you may be the victim of identity theft. If you think that someone else filed a claim under your name, address, or Social Security number, contact California EDD to report the fraud. Visit ASK EDD and select the Form 1099G category or call 1-866-401-2849. You can also report fraudulent activity to IdentityTheft.gov. This website can also help you freeze your credit if necessary.
As your District Attorney, I’m committed to increasing communication and accessibility between the DA’s Office and the public. I hope these consumer and public safety tips have been helpful.