HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry will be extending its partnership with virtual identity verification vendor ID.me to help with reducing fraudulent unemployment 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,” L&I Secretary Jennifer Berrier said Friday.
The department originally teamed up with ID.me in September after several reports of fraud were detected in their Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. PUA was created by the federal government to provide benefits for people laid off during the pandemic that wouldn’t normally be eligible.
L&I says these types of fraudulent claims have been filed by fraudsters stealing identities from data leaks occurring out of state, not by leaks within the department.
“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,” Secretary Berrier said.
Secretary Berrier says the department is noticing an uptick in these claims, and says the majority are stopped before any payment occurs through other antifraud tactics. She says ID.me will catch most of these when they are first sent, which allows L&I to work on other issues and prevent identity theft.
L&I reminds individuals to stay alert and keep personal information confidential. They say signs of fraud include receiving unrequested paperwork, payments they did not apply for, and employers receiving notice that an unknown person or current employee’s claim has been opened.
L&I has a reporting system on the UC Benefits website.