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North Carolina Unemployment Fraud

North Carolina Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment fraud in North Carolina is a significant issue that affects the integrity of the state’s unemployment insurance system. The NC Division of Employment Security (DES) is constantly working to identify and stop fraudulent activity within the NC unemployment benefits system.

How to report NC unemployment fraud

You can report unemployment fraud online or over the phone.

Report fraud online

To report suspected fraud, use the Fraud Report Form.

Report fraud by phone

To report unemployment fraud by phone, call the DES Fraud Hotline at 919-701-3543.

What is NC unemployment fraud?

There are two main types of unemployment fraud in North Carolina: Fraud overpayments and identity theft. Overpayment fraud involves a claimant being dishonest in order to be eligible for unemployment benefits. Identity theft is when someone steals personal information and collects UI benefits using someone else’s name.

Fraud Overpayments

Fraud overpayments occur when a claimant either tells lies or doesn’t share all the necessary information in order to get those unemployment benefits. For example, if a person goes back to work but doesn’t report their wages and continues to receive unemployment benefits, that’s a case of fraud overpayment. Always remember to report your situation honestly to avoid this kind of UI fraud.

If you receive an overpayment notice, you are responsible for paying back the money. Overpayments are not always the result of fraud. For example, if you receive UI benefits but your employer appeals – and you lose – then you will have to repay the benefits you have received. You can use the NC unemployment calculator to verify that you are receiving the correct weekly benefit amount.

Examples of NC unemployment fraud

  • Withholding information: Do not hide any facts or details from the Department of Employment Security (DES) or the Department of Workforce Services (DWS).
  • Working while collecting UI benefits without reporting your earnings: You must report all earnings when you file your weekly claim or it is considered unemployment fraud.
  • Helping others claim benefits they are not entitled to: It may seem like you’re helping a friend, but if you help someone get benefits they don’t qualify for, you’re actually participating in a fraudulent claim.
  • Returning to full-time work while collecting UI benefits: If you’ve found a new full-time job while receiving unemployment benefits, congratulations! But you should stop filing weekly claims to ensure you’re not unintentionally committing fraud.
  • Claiming benefits while unable or unavailable for work: You might be tempted to claim benefits when you’re not able to work or aren’t available for work, but this is against the rules. Unemployment benefits are for those who are actively seeking employment and are ready to accept a job if it’s offered.
  • Reporting inaccurate hours and earnings: Always be honest when reporting your hours worked and your earnings. Providing false information can be considered unemployment fraud and can get you into trouble.
  • Collecting benefits based on false information: If you intentionally provide wrong or misleading information in order to collect benefits, that’s a form of unemployment insurance fraud.
  • Claiming benefits without looking for work: You can only claim benefits if you’re actively seeking employment. If you’re not trying to find a job and still claiming benefits, that’s considered fraudulent. According to the NC unemployment work search requirements, claimants must make three new job contacts each week that they collect UI benefits.

Identity Theft / Imposter Fraud

Unfortunately, there are many scammers who use other people’s personal information and stolen identities to apply for NC unemployment benefits. This information can be stolen in a number of ways, like data breaches from other places, sneaky email phishing schemes, or by impersonating someone else. It’s a form of UI fraud that’s also known as imposter fraud.

Signs of identity theft

Watch out for the following suspicious behaviors:

  • Receiving communications regarding unemployment insurance forms when you did not file an unemployment claim
  • Unauthorized transactions on your bank or credit card statements related to unemployment benefits
  • Any fees involved in filing or qualifying for unemployment insurance
  • Unsolicited inquiries related to unemployment benefits
  • Unemployment scams asking for your Social Security number
  • Fictitious websites and social media pages mimicking those of government agencies

If you are a victim of identity theft

If you suspect unemployment identity theft, take immediate action. File a police report and check your credit report for any unusual activity or unauthorized lines of credit. This can be done for free once a year from each of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, Transunion) through or by calling 1-877-322-8228.

Penalties for committing NC unemployment fraud

If you are caught committing unemployment insurance fraud, you can face a variety of penalties. To start, you will be required to pay back an extra 15% on top of any overpaid amount, and you won’t be able to receive unemployment insurance benefits for one year. If you’ve received an overpayment exceeding $400 due to fraudulent activities, there’s a good chance you will face prosecution which can result in felony charges.

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