Fighting rise in unemployment fraud in Indiana

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The Indiana Department of Workforce Development is warning about unemployment fraud. Commissioner Fred Payne spoke about it during the governor’s weekly Coronavirus update. 

Payne reported Indiana’s unemployment rate is at 4.3%, the lowest of the Midwestern states. It continues to trend in a positive direction. He did say, however, that Indiana has increasingly become targets of fraudsters and scammers in the workforce system. 

The department says fraudsters and scammers are doing multiple things to steal people’s personal information and apply for unemployment benefits with it.  

Scammers are getting people’s information from fake websites and social media and also purchasing someone’s stolen info on the web. 

“These criminals are chameleons. They change their look frequently and they take many forms,” said Payne. 

Officials say scammers are making small changes to websites, which could cause big problems if you’re not careful. 

“We also have had recently, a fake webpage set up using the name ‘Indiana Department of Workforce Developments,’” said Payne. “They added an ‘s’ to the end of ‘development’.” 

They will use the information to file a claim on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The commissioner says that is the biggest issue they are seeing right now and people should pay close attention to who they give their information to.  

“Regardless of the tools we put in place, our best defense against fraud remains businesses and individuals. If you see something suspicious, please let us know. Our commitment continues to be that we pay every eligible Hoosier the benefits that they are entitled to, not the fraudsters.” 

To combat the fraud the commissioner says they are improving their tools and technology to verify people’s claims are legitimate.  

Payne says only about 60% of people who filed claims actually used the tools to verify their identity. And he says the other 40% might not have been able to because they are fraud. 

Of the 60% who did use the identity verification tools, more than 20% was fraud. 

Payne says about 71% or about 3 out of every 4 claims require more processing to be verified which could cause delays for people getting their assistance. 

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