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100K instances of fraud detected in past year

New IdentityTheft Scam

Connecticut’s Department of Labor received around 100,000 fraudulent applications over the past year, as the COVID-19 pandemic upended daily life.

The fraudulent claims mostly involved identity theft and “false information,” the agency said in a news release Friday.

A spoksperson for the agency later clarified that the 100,000 instances of fraud were detected by Department of Labor staff and were not paid out. The spokesperson said there is no estimate on how many fraudulent applications were processed, or how much money was protected.

“Fraud is particularly expensive — not only does it cost money that businesses ultimately have to pay back to the Trust Fund, but it also creates delays by pulling staff away from processing legitimate applications,” said DOL Commissioner Kurt Westby.

He said getting unemployment payments out to claimants is the agengy’s “top priority” during the pandemic, and that “all labor agencies are using every resource we have to ensure that funding is protected.”

DOL officials say fraudulent applications have come in waves, and mean staff have to spend a longer time processing applications as a result. Earlier in March, 20,000 fraudulent applications were reported in just a few days, the agency said.

The agency said there are multiple systems to flag applications for review, none of which are automated. “Staff reviews each on a case-by-case basis, a time-consuming and labor-intensive process,” the agency said.

Westby said that out of 1.9 million workers in the state, 580,000 became unemployed over the past year. “Our 40-year old unemployment system was never meant to handle that kind of surge,” he said in a statement. “It is with all thanks to the CTDOL benefits and technical teams that we kept that system running despite continued strain.”

He described the economic recovery as more people are vaccinated is a “light at the end of a very dark tunnel.”

In a statement, Gov. Ned Lamont said the agency faced “extraordinary circumstances” over the year.

“Unemployment benefits are critical safety net programs during normal times; during this pandemic, these benefits have prevented additional disaster for many of our neighbors,” Lamont said.

Source: on 2021-03-20 22:25:43

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