During the pandemic, millions of Americans have filed for unemployment benefits due to job loss and reduced work hours.

Unfortunately, scammers are taking advantage of the pandemic and fraudulently filing unemployment claims using stolen personal identity information.

If you receive a 1099-G tax form  for unemployment benefits that you didn’t apply for or receive, you may be a victim of identity theft.

How to protect yourself from unemployment benefit scams

Learn the four steps you can take to report unemployment benefits fraud and protect yourself and others.

What to do: Follow these four steps to report unemployment benefits fraud and to protect yourself:

Suspicious transactions and deposits

Some people have reported receiving prepaid cards in the mail with unemployment benefits that they didn’t apply for. Others have reported suspicious transactions and deposits in their bank accounts involving unemployment benefits. Once you receive the funds, a scammer may contact you, pretend to be from the government, and tell you the benefits were deposited by mistake. They will then ask you to send them the money  .

What to do: If you receive an unexpected prepaid card for unemployment benefits or see an unexpected deposit from your state in your bank account, report it right away to your state unemployment insurance office  and your bank or credit union. If you believe you have been the victim of identity theft, report the incident to your local police and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)  .