Idaho Unemployment Fraud
Unemployment insurance fraud occurs when someone lies to get benefits that they are not entitled to. The Idaho Department of Labor takes the investigation and prosecution of such crimes seriously, with penalties ranging from fines, loss of future Idaho UI benefits, and even jail time.
When filing your initial claim for benefits and weekly certifications, it is important to provide correct information. This ensures that your benefits are accurate and that the system operates smoothly.
How to report Idaho unemployment insurance fraud
Unemployment insurance fraud is a serious crime that can have lasting repercussions. It increases taxes for businesses and harms honest workers who deserve benefits.
If you believe that someone is committing unemployment insurance fraud, you can report it by calling (877) 540-8638 or by emailing [email protected].
When submitting an unemployment fraud report, be sure to include the contact information of the person or business involved, as well as a description of the activities.
What constitutes unemployment fraud?
Unemployment fraud is when someone intentionally and unlawfully obtains unemployment insurance benefits through lying or deceit. It might involve giving a false statement about your work history, income, or qualifications, or even hiding income while receiving benefits.
Unemployment fraud can also happen if someone keeps receiving benefits when they have already returned to work. At the most serious level, it occurs when someone steals another’s identity to file for unemployment insurance benefits.
A few specific examples of unemployment fraud activities include:
- Lying about job search activity
- Not reporting accurate work hours or earnings
- Failure to be able and available for work
- Being dishonest about income and wages
- Filing for benefits with a stolen identity
- Stealing mail to cash unemployment checks
- Helping others commit fraud
- Employers encouraging employees to file a false claim
Penalties for committing UI fraud in Idaho
If you are caught committing fraud while claiming Idaho unemployment benefits, there will be serious consequences. You will have to pay back all the benefits you received, including interest and fines, and you may even face criminal charges. If you commit fraud, you will also be ineligible for benefits for one year.
The fines for fraud depend on how many offenses you committed:
- First time offense: 25% of the money wrongly received
- Second time offense: 50% of the money wrongly received
- Third (or more) time: 100% of the money wrongly received
For example, if you said you didn’t work when you did, which resulted in you receiving $100 more than you should have, you’ll have to repay that $100 plus $25 in penalties and interest.
Can a claim be edited after submission?
If you need to correct your weekly certification answers, you can do so before pressing Submit. However, once you submit your certification, you won’t be able to change your response. If you believe you made a mistake, call the UI claims center.
What is an overpayment?
When you file your weekly certification, your unemployment compensation is calculated based on the information you provided. However, if the Idaho Department of Labor receives new or conflicting information about your eligibility after paying benefits, you may end up receiving more than you are entitled to.
If the department determines that you were ineligible for benefits you received due to new information, they will let you know by mail that you have received an improper payment and you will need to pay it back.
Can I get my overpayment waived?
If any overpayment is found, the Idaho Department of Labor will send you a notice explaining why and how much you need to pay back. If you think the notice is wrong, you can ask for the overpayment amount to be waived within 14 days.
In order to qualify for a waiver, the overpayment cannot be your fault. This means:
The overpayment was the result of an error made by the Idaho Department of Labor and you had no way of knowing you were receiving more benefits than you were entitled to.
The overpayment occurred because one of your employers misreported your base period wages and you could not have been expected to catch the error.
If you believe you qualify, you will need to follow the instructions on how to request a Determination of Waiver when you receive your overpayment notice.
What happens if I don’t repay the overpayment?
If you still owe money from a previous overpayment when you are eligible to receive benefits again, the Idaho Department of Labor will take all of your benefits each week until the balance is repaid. If the overpayment was due to fraud, you won’t be eligible to receive benefits until you have paid back everything you owe.
The department has other ways to collect overpayments if you don’t repay them quickly, such as putting a lien on your property or garnishing your wages. They may also take money from your bank account or tax refunds.
Can I set up a payment plan for overpayments?
Yes. You have the option to pay back overpayments in full, or you can arrange a payment plan. If you’re wanting to set up a payment plan, you will need to contact the UI claims center to do so.
How does Idaho detect unemployment fraud?
Idaho Labor takes several measures to prevent unemployment fraud. These measures include cross-checking claimant information with wage records and conducting audits to verify eligibility and benefit payments.
In 2020, the Idaho Department of Labor contracted with ID.me to verify people’s identities online. By May 2021, this verification process was fully integrated into the application process for unemployment benefits, which has helped to greatly reduce the number of fraudulent unemployment claims being filed.
The department also investigates all reports of unemployment fraud and works with law enforcement to prosecute those who commit it.
Lastly, the department strives to educate the public on how to avoid fraud, and warns about the consequences of fraudulent activity.
Unemployment identity theft
Fraudsters may have stolen and misused your personal information to apply for unemployment benefits. This could have happened if your personal information was hacked or breached.
If you didn’t file an Idaho unemployment claim but received an email or letter from the Idaho Department of Labor about benefits, your information may have been compromised.
Unfortunately, criminals around the world are working to commit fraud against state unemployment insurance programs. If you did not apply for unemployment benefits, be careful not to click on any links asking to verify your identity.
Oftentimes, people don’t realize that their identities have been used to file claims and collect benefits. You could be a victim of unemployment identity theft if you receive any of the following from the department, but didn’t apply for benefits:
- Mail about unemployment insurance claims
- A 1099-G tax form
- A notice to your employer asking for information about your unemployment claim
Did the department get hacked?
No, the system that the department uses to provide unemployment insurance has not been hacked. Idaho Labor uses advanced measures to protect your personal information to ensure it does not get leaked.
Unfortunately, fraudsters have been stealing personal information from businesses all around the world, which they use for various illegal activities. They may use stolen information for unemployment fraud, as well as for other financial gain, like credit card or mortgage fraud.
How to protect your personal information
It is important to protect yourself from unemployment scams. A few ways to protect yourself include:
- Do not give out personal information through email or text messages
- Avoid sending money through wire transfers
- Do not respond to messages from unknown sources
- Check your financial statements carefully and contact the company right away if you see anything suspicious
- Shred credit card statements, bills, and bank statements properly
- Keep your Social Security card safe—do not carry it in your wallet
- Only give out your Social Security number when required by law or when necessary
- Beware of callers who ask for personal or financial information
- Check your credit reports, bank accounts, and medical records for any information that should be secured or removed
- Change your passwords regularly and use complex combinations that cannot be easily guessed
- Memorize your passwords and PINs
- Close old accounts and passwords that are no longer in use
- Use extra security measures offered by your accounts when possible
- If you are unsure if communication from the Idaho Department of Labor is legitimate, call the UI claims center to confirm