As you may be aware, an international criminal ring is exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to commit largescale unemployment fraud. Please review the U.S. Secret Service’s press release here. As a result, the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) advises that personal data has not been stolen from the agency but wants to help protect individuals from identity theft. The state developed several system measures to protect individuals from fraud including an identity verification requirement and a claim eligibility authentication.
For instance, the state created a verification step within the filing process. If individuals receive a “Stop Payment” notice on their account, they will need to submit additional identifying information in order to receive benefits. Also, individuals will receive a form (UIA 6347 – Request for Identity Verification) in the mail, which requests the following information:
- US Passport or US Passport Card,
- Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card,
- Driver’s license or ID card,
- Social Security card, or
- Original or certified copy of birth certificate.
Due to COVID-19, individuals will be unable to report to their local office to verify their identity and submit documents. Instead, individuals can mail or fax copies of the required information to the state. The state recommends that individuals upload digital copies of this information for faster turnaround time. If individuals choose to upload digital copies, they should log into their MiWAM account, click “I Want To,” and then choose “Send Unemployment a Message” to upload documents. Messages can be sent to the state 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The state will contact individuals by phone from their customer service line, 866-500-0017, if additional information is needed.
Stolen or false personal information can be used to fraudulently apply for unemployment benefits. Tips to prevent unemployment identity theft can be found online. The individual will receive a written Monetary Determination after filing for unemployment benefits. Please be aware that if you receive this letter (Form UIA 1575C) and have not applied for unemployment benefits, or the name on the form is not yours, you may be a victim of identity theft. Contact the state immediately at Michigan.gov/UIA through the Report Identity Theft link. More tips on how to prevent unemployment identity theft in Michigan are available online.
Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any updates. You can also review these updates on our website at http://www.thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/ too.
Please reach out to your representative with any questions.