Skip to main content

Identity Theft in Pandemic Benefits Programs

Every case of identity fraud has three potential victims: the person whose identity is used to steal benefits, the person whose benefits are stolen, and the American taxpayer.

A Massive Increase in Complaints

Scammers saw opportunity in $5 trillion worth of pandemic relief, stealing personal information and using it to apply for benefits intended for the unemployed and shuttered businesses. The Federal Trade Commission reported a 3,000% increase in identity theft complaints related to government benefits in 2020.​

Read about what we’re doing to help protect your identity and your money.

If you believe you are the victim of identity theft, go to IdentityTheft.gov​.

Fighting a Common Challenge Together

Identity theft creates headaches for people and federal agencies. For example, it’s taking the Internal Revenue Service 260 days to resolve a case of identity theft as of December 2021. That’s a long time for a taxpayer to have to wait and it could be holding up their tax refund or stimulus check.  

We formed a working group with several Offices of Inspectors General that oversee agencies whose customers are often targeted by identity thieves. The working group is exploring ways to stop identity theft before it occurs and how to improve the support that victims receive. 

Read their latest report to learn how federal agencies can reduce the burden on identity theft victims.

Scam Alerts

See the warnings federal watchdogs and agencies have issued about scams.

Reports & Alerts

New York, Ulster County Office of the Comptroller
State / Local Report |
West Virginia Legislative Auditor's Office
State / Local Report |

Related Investigations

Department of Justice
Investigative Results |
Department of Justice
Investigative Results |
Page last modified: 11/06/2023
Thank you for your feedback!
Would you tell us more? Feedback
Was this page helpful?