DOL Suspects 75% of Unemployment Claims Are Fraudulent
The Connecticut Department of Labor warned this week that it suspects 75% of unemployment benefit claims are fraudulent.
Department officials said Connecticut is among a number of states targeted by “criminals who are flooding the unemployment system using stolen identities to file for benefits.”
“During the pandemic, stolen identities were available on the dark web for about $1,” agency commissioner Danté Bartolomeo said in a July 20 statement.
“Criminals are still mining this resource to purchase names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, and other personal information that they use to apply for credit cards, bank loans, and unemployment benefits.”
Bartolomeo said several thousand unemployment claims are filed in Connecticut daily and the department is withholding benefit payments pending additional verification checks.
DOL reported 5,350 initial unemployment claims for the week of July 9, 9,582 the week of July 2, and 10,614 the week of June 25.
“CTDOL takes immediate action to notify employers when someone has filed against them, as a result, employers are often the first to know that an identity was stolen,” Bartolomeo said.
“In many cases, that employee still works for them. Victims of ID theft also receive a notice of monetary determination, a notification that alerts them that someone has filed a claim using their identity.
“It’s critical that employers and employees report this fraud to CTDOL so we can protect benefits and the trust fund from fraud.”
ReEmployCT, the agency’s unemployment tax and benefits system, automatically sends employers a notice when an unemployment claim is filed against them.
When an employer receives an unemployment notification for an employee who still works for the company, it is a sign of potential identity theft.
Bartolomeo urged employers to respond quickly to unemployment notices and report potential fraud through DOL’s website and to local law enforcement.
Employees should also report potential identity theft to the department if they receive a monetary determination letter or a 1099 tax form but have not filed for unemployment benefits.
The agency’s website features comprehensive information for preventing, reporting, and recovering from fraud and identity theft.
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