New website available to help victims of unemployment insurance fraud
RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) - The US Department of Labor (DOL) has launched a new website at www.dol.gov/fraud and www.dol.gov/fraud/es in Spanish, to help people, whose identities have been stolen and used fraudulently to file for unemployment.
“Unemployment insurance fraud is a national issue that every state is struggling with and Virginia is not immune,” said Commissioner Ellen Marie Hess, Virginia Employment Commission. “Fraud takes many forms, including identity theft, filing under false pretenses and on a larger scale, organized fraud conducted by malicious actors from across the globe,” Hess added.
The pandemic has led to historic levels of unemployment, which required speed and flexibility of federal programs to get money to those who need it as soon as possible.
However, self-certification and the lifting of other traditional requirements also left these programs vulnerable.
According to DOL, many individuals learn their identities have been stolen when they received unexpected mail, such as a payment, or a 1099-G tax form with errors or for benefits they didn’t get.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the VEC has paid around $12 billion in unemployment claims.
“We work closely with local, state and federal law enforcement officials to identify and pursue suspected cases of fraud in Virginia,” said Hess.
New provisions requiring additional evidence to substantiate individual claims have been made to unemployment insurance programs, including the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program.
The VEC participates in a multi-state unemployment insurance data trust to compare filing activity and help identify fraudulent claims, and is working with state and federal agencies in combating Unemployment Insurance fraud.
Virginians, who suspect they may be victims of unemployment fraud, need to report the fraudulent activity on the VEC’s homepage through a secure fillable form www.vec.virginia.gov/unemployed/fraud. Customer service agents are available to assist customers in completing the form by calling 1-800-782-4001.
Copyright 2021 WHSV. All rights reserved.