HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) is still fighting unemployment compensation fraud, so L&I Secretary Jennifer Berrier announced on Friday the department has extended the its partnership with ID.me, a virtual identity verification vendor, to help validate all new unemployment compensation claims.
“We take unemployment benefit fraud very seriously at L&I, and we are committed to working with our partners to prevent fraudulent claims and hold those responsible accountable for their actions,” said Secretary Berrier. “Through our partnership with ID.me for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, we were able to prevent millions of dollars in taxpayer money from being stolen by fraudsters. By using ID.me for the Unemployment Compensation program, we can replicate this success.”
The partnership with ID.me dates back to September, after a surge of fraudulent claims were detected in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program — a special program created by the federal government to provide unemployment benefits to individuals not typically eligible for unemployment compensation who lost their job due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Scammers are filing fraudulent claims, using identities stolen from data leaks that occurred outside of state government.
ID.me adds another layer of security to L&I’s current anti-fraud measures by requiring individuals to verify their identity before filing a new claim.
Recently, L&I has noticed an uptick in fraudulent unemployment compensation claims after fraudsters initially targeted the PUA program. A majority of fraudulent claims are stopped by other anti-fraud tactics before payment occurs. ID.me will catch many fraudulent claims when they are first submitted, preventing identity theft victims and their employers from having to take any action.
By using ID.me, the department believes these scammers are more apprehensive in attempting to file fraudulent claims, as the addition of ID.me last fall for the PUA program resulted in a reduction in fraud attempts shortly after.
The identity verification step through ID.me takes just a few minutes, as it has been integrated into the process to file an initial application. When people log into benefits.uc.pa.gov for the first time, the site will walk them through the steps of the ID.me. verification.
L&I encourages individuals to remain vigilant about guarding their personal and confidential information and to monitor for signs that their information is being used fraudulently. Signs of fraud include:
- Individuals receiving unrequested unemployment paperwork from L&I’s Office of Unemployment Compensation.
- Individuals receiving unemployment benefit payments they did not apply for from the Pennsylvania Treasury.
- Employers receiving notice that a claim has been opened for a current employee who is actively working, or an unknown person.
Report Fraud Online:
- Individuals can report suspected unemployment fraud by visiting the UC Benefits Website and clicking “Report Fraud” at the bottom of the page to complete and submit the Identity Theft Form. Do not log in.
- Employers should indicate the claim is fraudulent in their response to the Notice of Claim Filed.
- To report identity theft fraud related to the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, please click here.
- Call the PA Fraud Hotline at 1-800-692-7469.
- File a police report with the municipality you resided in at the time the unemployment benefits in question were paid. A copy of the police report must be provided to the Office of Unemployment Compensation.
- The U.S. Department of Labor recommends that victims of ID theft should also report their information to the National Center for Disaster Fraud.
- Victims should also consider starting a recovery plan with the Federal Trade Commission.
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