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Unemployment Fraud FAQs

Frequently asked questions about unemployment fraud including identity fraud.

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Information on reporting unemployment fraud can be found at:

Whenever a claimant conceals or misrepresents any eligibility information that can affect benefits paid you have potential fraud. Read examples of fraud.

The department has various means to detect fraud and abuse. A few include: auditing employer records, comparing benefit claims to payroll records in Wisconsin and other states, exchange of information between agencies, complaints from employers and tips from the public.

Any benefits paid as a result of fraud must be paid back. Also, Wisconsin law provides for penalties and/or criminal prosecution for fraudulent claims.

When a claimant intentionally conceals information affecting unemployment eligibility, they lose an amount of their future unemployment benefits (benefit amount reduction). The claimant is also assessed a penalty they are required to pay out of pocket.

The benefit amount reduction must be satisfied before the claimant can receive any unemployment benefits. A benefit amount reduction lasts for six years from the date of the determination. It must either be satisfied by claiming benefits during the six-year period or the six year time limit runs out. A benefit amount reduction cannot be paid. The benefit amount reduction amount must be claimed. The benefit amount reduction is in addition to any overpaid benefits which must be repaid.

In cases involving repeat offenders and/or large overpayments, the department has the legal right to pursue criminal prosecution through the legal system. The department works with the appropriate District Attorney to get criminal charges filed against the offenders.

Criminal penalties are in addition to administrative penalties and include fines from $100 to $500 and imprisonment up to 90 days (or both) for each offense.

An employing unit aids and abets a claimant when they have knowledge that a claimant is submitting or intending to submit a false claim and the employer either (a) renders aid to the claimant who submits a false claim, or (b) is ready and willing to render aid, if needed, and the claimant who commits the concealment knows of the employing unit's willingness to aid in the concealment.

Examples of aiding and abetting are the banking of hours and/or the falsification of required reports which allows a claimant to fraudulently receive unemployment benefits.

An employer determined to have aided and abetted a claimant in committing an act of concealment or misrepresentation will be assessed a forfeiture. In addition, improperly paid benefits are charged against the employer found guilty of aiding and abetting even if the improperly paid benefits are recovered. Wisconsin law provides for the criminal prosecution of claimants and employers participating in aiding and abetting to obtain benefits not due.

Yes. All wages must be reported on your weekly claim certification for the week in which you worked, not in the week you are paid.

Yes. The value of any kind of remuneration or payment must be reported in the week the payment is earned. Wages are every type of pay for work done, including room and board, cash payments, tips, commissions and "working off a bill".

Absolutely nothing. Any and all wages earned must be reported on your weekly claim while collecting unemployment benefits.

Repayment Options:

Be sure to include your social security number with all correspondence.

Identity Fraud

If you receive a 1099-G for benefits you did not file for, please let the department know immediately, as this could be a case of identity fraud.

If you receive a 1099-G for benefits you did not file for:

Identity fraud is a crime in which an imposter obtains key pieces of personally identifiable information, such as Social Security or driver's license numbers. Criminals use this information to impersonate someone else, usually for financial gain.

When someone illegally files an unemployment claim using another person’s personal and employment information.

Many people find out when they receive an unexpected letter from Unemployment Insurance (UI). Many also find out when UI notifies an employer that a current employee has applied for unemployment benefits. The employer then notifies the employee.

If you have reason to believe someone has applied for unemployment benefits using your information, report it immediately to UI. Use the methods on the Report Unemployment Fraud page to request a fraud investigation.

After reporting the fraud to UI, follow the instructions under If You're a Victim of Identity Fraud.

A hold will be placed to prevent additional payments from being made. You will be contacted for additional information.

Employers should:

No. If the investigation finds that you were a victim of identity fraud and the imposter was paid benefits, you will not need to pay back the money. Your employer won’t have to repay it either.