TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – You may have an unemployment problem, even if you never filed for unemployment benefits.

A growing number of Tampa Bay area residents are discovering someone filed for benefits in their name. But many aren’t finding out until they receive a 1099-G form to file taxes on the money – money they never received.

The U.S. Department of Labor issued direction about the fraud, saying state unemployment systems had been under attack.

Here are tips the department sent:

  1. Report unemployment identity theft to the state where it occurred. You can use the state directory listed on the department’s website to find out how to report it to the state.
    • The department warns that you may not receive an immediate confirmation from the state and time estimates for how long the process takes vary by state.
    • States may require additional documentation in order to open an investigation and will review your case to make a determination. Each state has different requirements and a different process for investigating identity theft, the department says.
    • If you received a 1099-G tax form for unemployment benefits that you didn’t receive, the state will need to issue you a corrected 1099-G tax form and will update the tax record with the IRS on your behalf.
  2. Only include income you actually received when you file your taxes and do not wait to receive a corrected 1099-G to file.
    • The department says the processing of tax returns should not be delayed while a report of unemployment identity theft is under investigation.
    • If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, the department warns you to not report the incorrect 1099-G income on your tax return.
    • If you have already filed your taxes, do not file an amended return. The department says the IRS will issue additional guidance on the next steps and is referring people to the identity theft and unemployment benefits page on the IRS website for updates and additional tax filing information.
  3. Check your credit report for any suspicious activity or unauthorized lines of credit that have been opened. Federal guidelines allow you to request one free credit report per year from each of the three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and Transunion..
    • For more information and steps to further protect credit, the Department of Labor is directing people to the credit report page on the Federal Trade Commission consumer site.
  4. Report unemployment identity theft that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud.
    • In addition to reporting unemployment identity theft to the state, victims are also encouraged to report with the National Center for Disaster Fraud. The department says that helps law enforcement stop future unemployment identity theft. Filing a report with the National Center for Disaster Fraud will also notify the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, which is the primary agency responsible for investigating unemployment fraud. You may not receive a response back after submitting this information, the department says.