URGENT: Massachusetts Unemployment Fraud Scheme


November 10, 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate rose to the highest rate observed since data collection began in 1948. Unfortunately, bad actors are taking advantage of a bad situation for millions of Americans. There’s a new scam currently underway in Massachusetts that you should be aware of:

Criminal enterprises in possession of stolen personal information from earlier national data breaches have been attempting to file large amounts of illegitimate unemployment claims through the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) system. This is part of a national unemployment fraud scheme.

The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) has begun implementing additional identity verification measures that will temporarily delay the payment timeframe for many unemployment claims in Massachusetts. As a result of these measures, certain unemployment claimants may be asked to provide additional identity information in order to verify the validity of their claim.

“Protecting the integrity of the unemployment system and ensuring benefits are going only to valid claimants is the top priority of the Department of Unemployment Assistance,” said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta. “While the program integrity measures we are taking will, unfortunately, mean that some claimants will experience temporary delays in payment, we believe these steps are necessary to respond to this unemployment scam. We are working rapidly to respond to this scheme and urge individuals who may have had a false unemployment claim filed in their name to contact the Department.”

Individuals who believe they may have had a false unemployment claim filed using their identity are urged to utilize the Department of Unemployment Assistance fraud contact form at mass.gov/unemployment-fraud or to call the DUA customer service department at 877-626-6800.

Additional updates related to this criminal activity will be posted at mass.gov/unemployment as soon as they are available.

The Commonwealth has also posted a list of steps to take on their website. I’ve copied those steps below as well for convenience:

The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) takes fraudulent claims seriously and we are working closely with state and federal law enforcement agencies. We want to assure you that there is no evidence of a state data breach. Protecting claimants’ information is our top priority.

You may receive communications about a fraudulent claim from DUA by text message, email, or letter.


Common unemployment scam techniques

Here are some common unemployment scam techniques to watch out for:

Asking you to pay a fee

DUA will never ask you to pay a fee for assistance with your claim.


Be aware of false websites

Check the web address of sites you are on. Some try to mimic official Massachusetts sites with similar names.


Emails and text messages

  • DUA may share information by email and text message but these will always point you to Mass.gov resources
  • DUA will never ask you for private personal information such as Social Security numbers, or bank account or credit card information by email or text message
Carl Keyser is the Content Manager at Integris.

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