(WHTM) — Add a new problem to the list of headaches with Pennsylvania’s revamped unemployment system: fraud. The state says it’s seeing a big surge in fraud and scams, and at the same time, people are still having trouble filing their claims.
This new system launched earlier this month and is aimed at making the process faster and easier, but it hasn’t been a totally smooth launch, and some users are fed up.
John Yates has been unemployed for more than a year because of the pandemic. He didn’t have any issues filing claims until the launch of L and I’s new system on June 8th.
“Then you went to try and log in, using that new account and that’s when everything went downhill for me,” Yates said.
He watched the state’s YouTube video, laying out how to get into the system, but that didn’t help him.
“It would just start looping back around. It takes you back to asking the same questions, entering your name and your social security number and it just keeps looping, you get nowhere with that,” Yates said.
Others have reported the same problem, and like Yates, they can’t seem to get a hold of anyone for help. Meanwhile, state officials admit there’s a “very large uptick in fraud” since the launch. They say, there are some protections in place.
“We didn’t want to put ID Me in place, which is what we’re using in PUA, just because of the new system, the confusion surrounding it. We had the discussions that we felt that would have been a little too much for claimants. However, unfortunately we’re going to have to do it sooner than later,” William Trusky, L&I Executive Deputy Secretary and Acting Unemployment Compensation Deputy Secretary, said.
But we don’t know what sooner means, and Susquehanna Township Police are alerting people about an increase in fraudulent unemployment claims. They’ve been getting multiple calls every day for weeks.
“If they receive one of these scams, is to contact their local police department. File a report with them because they’ll need that report incident number to then file a claim with the unemployment compensation benefits department,” Captain Jason Reber, Susquehanna Township Police Department, said.
A spokesperson with PA Labor and Industry insists that situations like Yates are “increasingly rare”, and says anyone having issues logging in should contact the customer service team.