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Help Fight Fraud

News

Late last year we detected a new Disability Insurance (DI) scam and acted quickly to minimize the impact. To learn more about this scam and what we’re doing to protect claimants and providers, review the following:

If you believe you’re a victim of fraud, review this page to learn how to report fraud.

We are dedicated to combatting fraudulent activity and protecting benefits for legitimate California workers in need.

We continue to strengthen our fraud detection methods as scammers evolve. They use stolen personal identity information from a number of illicit sources and attack benefit programs across the country.

We encourage Californians to remain vigilant and safeguard financial and personal information to help prevent fraud, including identity theft.

How to Report Fraud

If you receive documents from the EDD but did not file a claim for benefits, someone may have filed a claim under your name, address, or Social Security number. To report benefits fraud, visit Report Fraud in Ask EDD. You can also call the EDD Fraud Hotline at 1-800-229-6297.

Important: If you’ve received a Form 1099G (tax document) but you did not file a claim, there is a different process for reporting fraud. Visit Form 1099G in Ask EDD or call 1-866-401-2849, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on state holidays.

  • Provide all relevant information about the issue. Your report will be anonymous unless you include your name and phone number.
  • Send any fraudulent documents or mail to EDD PO Box 826880, MIC 43, Sacramento, CA 94280-0225. You can also write “Return to Sender” on the envelope and provide it to your mail carrier.
  • Write “Return to sender” on the envelope of any mail you receive that does not pertain to you and provide it to your mail carrier.

If you need to provide more information after reporting fraud, contact us again. Include the reference number provided when you first reported the issue.

Note: To ensure the confidentiality and integrity of any investigation, the EDD does not provide status updates unless court-ordered or required by law.

If we find you were a victim of fraud, we will remove the claim from your Social Security number and send you an updated 1099G, if needed. Review IRS tax guidance on benefit identity theft.

How to Avoid Scams

Scammers attempt to get your personal identifying information for a number of criminal reasons, including applying for benefits in your name.

When a fraudulent claim is filed for disability benefits, scammers may have also stolen the credential information of medical providers, who are an important part of the eligibility verification process for benefit payments. To combat such fraud attempts, we will contact recent medical providers who’ve registered in our system to confirm their medical provider status.

By being watchful, you too can help stop criminals and avoid identity theft. To protect yourself, follow these tips when communicating with the EDD or our contractors, including ID.me who helps EDD with validating identity:

  • Do not respond to communication on social media or phone apps. The EDD does not reach out to claimants this way.
  • Do not share your username or password with anyone to avoid the potential for fraud or identity theft.
  • If a stranger visits your home claiming they accidentally used your address or asks about mail delivered by mistake, do not provide them with any information. Report this to the EDD immediately by completing a Report Fraud form.
  • Do not respond to text messages. Text messages asking people to activate a benefits debit card by clicking on a link are scams. Bank of America and EDD never text message people to reactivate a debit card. EDD text messages only link to websites that include “edd.ca.gov”.
  • If you opted in for SMS text alerts, messages are sent from 510-74 or 918-06.
  • Make sure any website links take you to a web address with “.ca.gov” before selecting it.
  • If we call you in regards to an unemployment claim, your caller ID may show “St of CA EDD” or the UI Customer Service Center 1-800-300-5616  or 833-978-2511 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • The EDD will not send representatives to your home.

For more tips, refer to What You Should Know about Unemployment Scammers (PDF).

For more information about protecting yourself from identity theft, review the California Attorney General’s Identity Theft Information Sheets and Credit Scores and Reports.

Note: The national credit reporting agencies Transunion, Experian, and Equifax are offering no-cost credit monitoring services through December 2022.

How to Avoid Committing Fraud

Beyond situations that involve identity theft, you are committing fraud if you:

  • Make a false statement.
  • Provide wrong information.
  • Withhold facts.

Unemployment Claims

To avoid fraud charges and penalties, report all income including self-employment and independent contractor work. Also, keep a record of the work and wages earned for each day to ensure accuracy. For more information, visit How to Report Work and Wages.

If you think you may have accidentally committed Unemployment Insurance (UI) fraud, contact us immediately.

Disability or Paid Family Leave Claims

It is a violation if you purposely make a false statement or knowingly conceal facts in order to obtain the payment of EDD benefits whether for yourself or any other person.

Examples include:

  • Filing a claim with DI for an injury or illness that does not exist.
  • Helping another person file a false claim.

Unemployment, Disability, or Paid Family Leave Claims

When an identity thief files an imposter unemployment claim for one of your employees, it can increase your tax rates.

To combat fraud, please contact us immediately if the claimant:

  • Has never been your employee.
  • Has been terminated, laid off or has quit their job.
  • Is receiving wages.
  • Has not stopped working.
  • Is known to be working for another employer.
  • Has filed for workers’ compensation or is believed to be planning to do so.
  • Is using a Social Security number incorrectly.
  • Is working under another name.

For more information on prevent identity theft, review How You Can Prevent Unemployment Insurance Imposter Fraud (DE 2360ER) (PDF).

Payroll Taxes

You are committing tax fraud if you do not register with the state, deal in cash-only, or use other schemes to not pay your fair share of payroll taxes.

Examples include:

  • Filing false payroll returns.
  • Operating as part of the underground economy and paying employees in cash or under-the-table to avoid paying taxes.
  • Practicing rate manipulation schemes.
  • Neglecting to report all wages paid and to pay payroll taxes.
  • Intentionally misclassifying employees as independent contractors.

To prevent fraud, please respond immediately if:

  • You are not the physician/practitioner of the care recipient shown on the correspondence from the State Disability Insurance office.
  • The patient:
    • Is no longer under your care and treatment.
    • Has recovered from their disability.
    • Has not stopped working.
    • Is known to be working for another employer.
    • Has filed for Workers’ Compensation or is believed to be planning to do so.
    • Is using a Social Security number incorrectly.
    • Is working under another name.

You may be asked to verify that you submitted medical data, answer some brief medical questions, or submit copies of medical records.

Individuals and employers are legally responsible for making sure they follow the requirements set by State law (California Unemployment Insurance Code, sections 2101, 2116, 2122, and 1143).

Penalties and Prosecution

Purposefully providing false information or not reporting information to the EDD is committing fraud. If you commit fraud, you could face a variety of serious penalties including:

  • Prosecution by government authorities.
  • Jail or prison sentences.
  • Repaying the benefits collected, plus penalties and fines.
  • Loss of future income tax refunds.
  • Losing eligibility to collect benefits in the future.

Anyone who receives fraudulent benefit payments or avoids payroll tax reporting obligations will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Additional Resources

Disability Insurance Scam and FAQs

Organized criminal elements filed false DI claims by attempting to use stolen identities and credentials of individuals and medical or health providers. This stolen information came from previous data breaches of institutions like banks, insurance companies, and major employers. In some cases, scammers also visited the addresses they used to file their fraudulent claim.

We are committed to protecting the identity of claimants and providers. We are instituting additional vetting and verification safeguards for our providers and their patients.

For more information, review the following questions and answers.

General Information

There is no evidence of a breach of EDD systems. This scam involved identity theft and criminals attempting to file false claims using stolen information.

Our investigators are actively evaluating suspected scam-related claims and activities. No losses have been confirmed at this time. California will continue to protect the integrity of state DI funds.

Our Investigations Division is working with partner law enforcement agencies and investigations are underway. To protect the confidentiality of those investigations, further details will not be provided at this time.

We have robust verification procedures in place, which is how this latest scam was caught quickly. This is an entirely new and organized fraud attack involving private information stolen from individuals and medical or health providers. States have not experienced such scams until now, and we have been proactively and quickly addressing it.

For Claimants 

Letters from us seeking further information to verify a DI claim and identity are examples of state anti-fraud efforts at work to stop payment on suspicious claims. Those who receive communications from us about a disability claim and believe someone filed the claim falsely, may want to visit Ask EDD to file a disability fraud report. Fraud reports may also be submitted by telephone at 1-800-229-6297 or by fax to 1-866-340-5484. Identity theft victims may also want to file an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

You may mark any mail “Return to Sender” and return it to United State Postal Service. You may also mail documents to EDD PO Box 826880, MIC 43, Sacramento, CA 94280-0225. Identity-theft victims may also want to file an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

It is at the discretion of your licensed health professional to complete the ID.me verification process. However, to complete DI and Paid Family Leave medical certifications using SDI Online, your licensed health professional must verify their identity. If your licensed health professional is not sure how to complete the ID.me process or they would like more information, they can visit California Disability Insurance & ID.me.

Your identity or address verification documents are scanned and processed in the order received. Due to the increase in fraudulent claims, the timeframe may be longer than the normal 14-day claim processing period.

For Medical Providers 

Someone has likely set up a provider account using your stolen information. All suspicious accounts were suspended, and no payments will be made on the claim unless the account is verified.

If this happens to you, please report it by visiting Ask EDD.

If you received a notification that your account was suspended, follow the instructions in the email on what you need to do to verify your information. This additional verification process will delay your ability to certify new patients; however, it also allows us to safeguard medical provider accounts and prevent further fraud. If the link in the email has expired, you can contact us at 1-855-942-3645.

For Employers 

Please return the form to us with any information about the fraudulent activity. Attach any documents to support the information contained in the form.

You may also file a fraud report by visiting Ask EDD and selecting the Report Fraud category to complete the Fraud Reporting Form. Notify your employee that they are likely a victim of identity theft and there are measures they can take to protect their identity. Identity-theft victims may also want to file an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Last Revised: 06/20/2022