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BUC - Identity Theft and Fraud Information
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Unemployment insurance fraud and identity theft are crimes that affect everyone, businesses, employees, and claimants. Individuals who commit unemployment fraud are subject to penalties, interest, and criminal prosecution. Both unemployment benefit recipients and employers can avoid serious costs and consequences by learning more about their roles and responsibilities as they provide required information for collecting benefits or reporting employee data.
The Department takes allegations of identity theft and unemployment insurance fraud seriously. If you report identity theft or fraud, you can remain anonymous. We will not disclose your identity unless required by law. If you wish to remain anonymous, DO NOT include your personal information. Please contact the Department by using the Reporting Forms below to report any identity theft or fraud you believe you have experienced or observed. Victims of identity theft will not have to repay the unemployment money. If a victim of fraud then needs to apply for unemployment benefits, they will still be able to do so.
Identity Theft UPDATE: With the unprecedented increase in unemployment insurance claims over the past two months due to COVID-19, Maine, along with the rest of the country, is seeing an increase in reports of identity theft. This is when a person’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is stolen and used by someone else to apply for unemployment benefits. Scammers use stolen PII from outside data breaches or other illicit means to create fraudulent unemployment claims in our unemployment system. They are hoping that innocent people whose information has been compromised never know that a claim was filed using their identity. 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.
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. Those steps include:
- Creating a cross-agency task force to detect and prevent fraud, including the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General and the Maine State Police;
- Coordinating with the financial institutions to identify suspicious accounts;
- Reviewing system changes needed to increase fraud detection; and
- Blocking web addresses linked to fraud here in Maine and in other states.
Reporting Identity Theft: This is to report that 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 to MDOL online: Use the MDOL Online Identity Theft Reporting Form
- Take steps to protect your identity, bank accounts, credit standing and much more:
Reporting Fraud: This is to report people you believe are collecting unemployment while working at the same time (and possibly should not be eligible for unemployment).
- To report Unemployment Insurance or Payroll Tax Fraud: Download a Fraud Reporting Form. You can then submit the form in the following ways:
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Mail: 47 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333
Frequently Asked Questions
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:
To avoid penalties for committing UI fraud:
Employers can take an active role in reducing improper UI benefit payments by providing important information in a timely manner. Employers are required to:
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.