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Indiana’s unemployment claims numbers falsely inflated

INDIANAPOLIS (July 1, 2020)  – The Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) continues to implement additional safeguards to further protect its unemployment insurance system from the threat of fraud.

DWD is putting “holds” on, and investigating, many Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims that have been recently filed before clearing them for payment.

The holds are the result of nation-wide increases in identity theft and fraud in unemployment filings.

“We have been monitoring situations in other states, and now similar attempts of fraud are targeting Indiana,” said Regina Ashley, DWD’s Chief Unemployment Insurance and Workforce Solutions Officer. “DWD is working vigilantly to ensure these attempts to cheat the system are caught and that payments are not falsely distributed.”

For the week ending June 20, initial unemployment claims totaled 31,885, a 28% increase from the previous week, according to DWD. Increases could be due to suspected fraud. The U.S. Department of Labor, on July 2, will release initial claims numbers, including those for Indiana, for the week ending June 27, which could also show signs of potential fraud.

DWD Initial Claims Graph

These increases are inconsistent with other employment indicators that initial claims should be decreasing, such as more individuals returning to work in Indiana, and fewer individuals filing for continuous weekly benefits.

Fraud can range from large international crime rings that steal people’s personal information or identities to file a claim, often using names of employees who are still employed, to employees who continue collecting unemployment even after returning to work, to requests for payments to help process unemployment claims. DWD is working with both federal and state authorities to investigate all suspected fraud.

The scammers may use your personal information to collect unemployment insurance in your name or change your bank account number to one of their own. DWD encourages claimants to protect their personal information, and to only provide requested claims information through the official DWD portal. DWD does NOT require claimants to use a secondary account to sign into its online filing system (Uplink).

To report an allegation of fraud involving unemployment, please visit the DWD’s fraud reporting webpage at www.Unemployment.IN.gov and click on “Report Unemployment Fraud.”

Employers should carefully review all documentation from DWD with claimant names. Both claimants and employers should report any suspicious activity.

People who commit unemployment insurance fraud face both civil and criminal penalties which include fines, incarceration, probation, and other penalties.

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 FM WYRZ and WYRZ.org. Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at brian@wyrz.org.

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