WorkForce WV warns unemployment recipients against fraud, identity theft

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — WorkForce West Virginia has mailed 1099-Gs to nearly 200,000 individuals who received unemployment benefits last year and is urging recipients to be on guard against fraud and identity theft.

The agency recently mailed the tax forms to individuals who received regular state unemployment benefits, pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA), pandemic emergency unemployment compensation (PEUC), federal pandemic unemployment compensation (FPUC), extended benefits (EB) and lost wage assistance (LWA).

“It’s unfortunate, but unemployment fraud has been prevalent across the country during the pandemic and fraudsters are out there claiming benefits by using stolen identities,” said WorkForce West Virginia Acting Commissioner Scott A. Adkins. “WorkForce is exhausting every possible avenue to reduce the impact of fraud on innocent West Virginians.”

WorkForce West Virginia has hired additional staff for fraud prevention and detection, including income and identity verification. A new federal requirement for pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) is to verify self-employment and identity of claimants. Even if a claim was previously approved, each claimant will be asked to provide additional information.

Any individual who receives a 1099-G from WorkForce West Virginia but did not file an unemployment claim, should report suspected fraud by filing a police report and sending an email to Individuals may also call 1-800-252-JOBS between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Callers should select option 5 when prompted.

Those looking for additional resources for reporting identity theft and fraud should consult the Internal Revenue Service’s Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft or the Federal Trade Commission’s website on identity theft or fill out a U.S. Department of Justice National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) complaint form.