CHICAGO (CBS) — The U.S. Department of Labor on Monday launched a new website for victims of unemployment fraud.

The website will serve as a clearinghouse for information about unemployment insurance identity theft – including information to help people understand it, and on how and where to report stolen benefits.

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The DOL said the website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might come up due to previous identity theft, and includes steps to report unemployment benefit thefts.

Actual unemployment benefit theft victims were recruited to test the site and ensure that the instructions were clear.

State unemployment systems – including Illinois’ – have been under attack by fraudsters throughout the pandemic.

“We understand that victims of unemployment insurance fraud are scared, confused and deeply frustrated,” DOL Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training Suzi LeVine said in a news release. “The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to working with state workforce agencies and our federal and state partners across government to ensure these victims have access to the resources they need along with help to clearly guide them through this difficult situation and show them how to report fraud.”

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The DOL noted that most fraud victims don’t even know thieves have filed claims or collected unemployment benefits in their names – and only find out if they get a surprise in the mail such as a payout, or a 1099-G tax form with errors or for benefits they never received.

Victims must report the fraud to state workforce departments to touch off an investigation, and the new DOL website has information on how to do so in every state.

A Spanish translation of the website is also available.

CBS 2 is committing to Working For Chicago, connecting you every day with the information you or a loved one might need about the jobs market, and helping you remove roadblocks to getting back to work.

We’ll keep uncovering information every day to help this community get back to work, until the job crisis passes. CBS 2 has several helpful items right here on our website, including a look at specific companies that are hiring, and information from the state about the best way to get through to file for unemployment benefits in the meantime.

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff