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Beware of scammer's attempts to phish your personal information via text message. These texts will usually include links claiming to lead to information about unemployment benefits.The Department does not text, and will never ask for sensitive information via social media or text message. If you receive a text message about unemployment benefits, or from someone claiming to be the Department of Labor or Bureau of Unemployment Compensation, it is a scam and should be ignored.
The State is taking extra steps to investigate and prevent fraudulent activity while ensuring that benefits are paid to eligible people as quickly as possible.
Reporting Identity Theft
If you believe someone else has filed a claim for unemployment benefits in your name, you need to REPORT this to MDOL and then PROTECT your IDENTITY with further steps.
- Report Identity Theft using the MDOL Online Identity Theft Reporting Form. If you are trying to report other types of unemployment fraud, the form can be found below under Reporting other types of unemployment fraud.
- Take steps to protect your identity, bank accounts, credit standing and much more:
- Maine Attorney Generals Office Identity Theft web page
- Federal Trade Commission website to report identity theft and get guidance on actions you should take to protect your identity
- Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Form to report fraud, waste, abuse, or mismanagement related to any man-made or natural disaster, to include criminal activity related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Consumer Unemployment Insurance Fraud:
Reporting other types of unemployment fraud
Please use this form to report suspected unemployment fraud or misconduct (other than identity theft), such as an individual providing false information in order to collect benefits. The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.
Collecting Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits based on providing false, misreported, or unreported information is considered committing UI fraud. If you are filing a claim, reopening a claim, or certifying for UI benefits, you are legally responsible for making sure you follow the requirements set by state law. Examples of UI fraud could include:
- You return to work but continue to collect UI benefits without reporting the work and wages.
- You do not report wages during the week that the work was performed.
- You work a part-time job but do not report your earnings, so you are collecting more benefits than you are allowed.
- You perform temporary work while collecting UI benefits, but do not report these earnings when certifying for benefits.
- You withhold information or give false information when filing a UI claim or certifying for benefits. If you commit UI fraud, then you could face a variety of serious penalties. These include:
- Losing the eligibility to collect UI benefits in the future.
- Forfeiting future income tax refunds.
- Repaying the UI benefits collected, plus penalties and interest.
- Prosecution by government authorities.
- Possible jail or prison sentences.
To avoid penalties for committing UI fraud:
- Report wages during the actual week when you worked and earned the wages—NOT when you receive your pay.
- Report total wages earned. Total wages are all earnings or income before deductions.
- Report all work for which you will receive wages. This includes tips and self-employment such as internet business
Employers can take an active role in reducing improper UI benefit payments by providing important information in a timely manner. Employers are required to:
- Report all new hires / re-hires to the State Directory of New Hires within 7 days.
- Respond to requests for verification of employee earnings in a timely manner.
- Provide timely and accurate employee separation information and any other known potential eligibility issues by the due date.
In Maine, UI benefits are funded by employer taxes. Improper payment of UI benefits may result in higher taxes to all employers. UI benefits allow qualified unemployed workers to continue to buy goods and services. An improper payment of UI benefits means that a claim for benefits was paid in error. An improper payment of benefits can result when inaccurate information is provided by the claimant or employer, or when information is not received by the Maine Bureau of Employment Insurance in a timely manner. Once an improper payment is detected, the claimant is notified of an “overpayment.”
The Bureau conducts cross-matches with several data sources. When we find instances of a person collecting benefits he or she is not eligible to receive, an overpayment is established. Overpayments due to fraud are subject to penalties including denial of benefits. The claimant must pay back the money he or she was not entitled to receive. Overpayments can also result in higher taxes for employers whose annual contributions pay for unemployment benefits for their former workers.