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Unemployment Fraud

False Claims, Identity Theft, and Avoiding Scams

Maintaining the integrity of the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program is important and helps ensure benefits are paid only to those who qualify for benefits under the law and employers are assessed the proper tax rate.

  • Claimants commit fraud by providing false or inaccurate information to the department when filing a claim for unemployment benefits in an effort to obtain monies to which they are not entitled.
  • Employers commit fraud when they provide false information to the department in an effort to obtain a lower tax rating or deliberately misclassify an employee as an independent contractor to avoid paying UI tax altogether, or when they have knowledge that a claimant is submitting or intending to submit a false claim (aiding and abetting).

Multiple detection systems are used to detect people who fail to report working and earning wages while claiming unemployment benefits.

Did You Know?:

  • Criminals are recruiting individuals to be money mules, committing financial fraud related to UI benefits.
  • If a claimant wishes to confirm that a caller is, in fact, Wisconsin DWD UI staff, the claimant should ask the caller to provide their (1) first name, (2) adjudicator code, and (3) phone number. The claimant may then call the help center at (414) 435-7069 or toll-free (844) 910-3661 to verify that individual is assigned to their claim.

The penalties for fraud and concealment are severe. In addition to penalties, any overpaid benefits must be repaid. Repayment methods include income tax interception, wage garnishments, property liens and payment plans.

Report Unemployment Fraud

  • Contact us to Report Unemployment Fraud if you are aware of claimants or employers committing fraud or an imposter claiming your benefits.
  • Report money mule activity to the U.S. Department of Labor. Money mules are individuals recruited by criminals to commit financial fraud related to UI benefits.

Identify Theft

  • You may be a victim of Identity Theft (Imposter Fraud) if you have reason to believe someone has applied for unemployment benefits using your information.


  • Don't be a victim by avoiding Unemployment Scams targeting claimants and employers to obtain private information.

Frequently Asked Questions