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Unemployment fraud increases in Pa. after switch to new system

Unemployment compensation fraud keeps happening in Pennsylvania, and police across the Susquehanna Valley want residents to be on alert.”I think we’re in the neighborhood of between five and 10 a day, on average, for the past week and a half or so,” said Lt. Chris McKim, of the Ephrata Police Department.McKim and his colleagues have been getting lots of calls about unemployment compensation fraud.”We take the report. There’s no question we want that information to be here, and we want to have it ready when it’s time to give it to higher authorities that may be looking into this,” he said.Ephrata police aren’t alone.Northern Lancaster County Regional police noted 80 cases since June 1.”Over the last few weeks we’ve noticed a considerably higher number of attempts by fraudsters,” Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier said.That’s the same time the state switched to its new unemployment compensation system.While L&I said the system wasn’t breached, it believes there are a number of reasons behind the uptick in fraud.”Including a more widespread use of fraud filing bots and the simple fact that L&I’s UC system upgrade attracted national attention,” Berrier said.Victims should report fraud to the unemployment office and to their local police department.Some departments, like Lower Allen Township, are now offering a secure online reporting form.Officers also suggested being proactive by protecting your credit and signing up for fraud alerts.”Get out in front of it. If you haven’t been a victim of it, get yourself protected,” McKim said.L&I said it’s working with police and the attorney general to investigate the increase in fraud attempts.The department also extended its partnership with virtual identity verification vendor ID.me to help verify the identity of new unemployment compensation claims.Signs of fraudL&I urged Pennsylvanians to be on the lookout for signs their information is being used fraudulently. Those signs 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 fraudOnline: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, click here.Phone:Call the PA Fraud Hotline at 1-800-692-7469.Police: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.Other:The U.S. Department of Labor recommends that victims of ID theft should report their information to the National Center for Disaster Fraud.Victims should also consider starting a recovery plan with the Federal Trade Commission.

Unemployment compensation fraud keeps happening in Pennsylvania, and police across the Susquehanna Valley want residents to be on alert.

“I think we’re in the neighborhood of between five and 10 a day, on average, for the past week and a half or so,” said Lt. Chris McKim, of the Ephrata Police Department.

McKim and his colleagues have been getting lots of calls about unemployment compensation fraud.

“We take the report. There’s no question we want that information to be here, and we want to have it ready when it’s time to give it to higher authorities that may be looking into this,” he said.

Ephrata police aren’t alone.

Northern Lancaster County Regional police noted 80 cases since June 1.

“Over the last few weeks we’ve noticed a considerably higher number of attempts by fraudsters,” Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier said.

That’s the same time the state switched to its new unemployment compensation system.

While L&I said the system wasn’t breached, it believes there are a number of reasons behind the uptick in fraud.

“Including a more widespread use of fraud filing bots and the simple fact that L&I’s UC system upgrade attracted national attention,” Berrier said.

Victims should report fraud to the unemployment office and to their local police department.

Some departments, like Lower Allen Township, are now offering a secure online reporting form.

Officers also suggested being proactive by protecting your credit and signing up for fraud alerts.

“Get out in front of it. If you haven’t been a victim of it, get yourself protected,” McKim said.

L&I said it’s working with police and the attorney general to investigate the increase in fraud attempts.

The department also extended its partnership with virtual identity verification vendor ID.me to help verify the identity of new unemployment compensation claims.

Signs of fraud

L&I urged Pennsylvanians to be on the lookout for signs their information is being used fraudulently. Those signs 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, click here.

Phone:

  • Call the PA Fraud Hotline at 1-800-692-7469.

Police:

  • 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.

Other:

Source: on 2021-07-16 18:41:15

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