90% of Vermont’s recent online UI claims flagged as fraudulent
Vermont has disabled its online unemployment insurance application system after 90% of the initial claims filed were flagged as fraudulent.
On April 28, the state said it removed the online application, which now forces applicants to call to initiate a claim. “Our ultimate goal is to protect Vermonters, whether that be ensuring individuals receive timely benefits or preventing fraudsters from using the identities of innocent Vermonters to defraud the state,” Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington said. “In this case, the most secure solution was to remove the application and make the criminals have to call to open a claim. When we did this, the number of claims being filed dropped by 90% and so too did the fraud,” he said.
A week earlier, the Labor Department began sending letters to residents who may have had fraudulent claims filed in their names. Recipients were asked to review the claim to ensure it is legitimate.
“It’s important to know that this is not a system issue, but rather a preventative measure to ensure the claimant is who they say they are,” Harrington said of the letters. “Think of it like the confirmation email you get when someone accesses your online account. We want you to know that a claim was filed using your information, and we want you to let us know when it wasn’t really you who submitted the claim.”
Meanwhile, another recent scam featured fraudsters posing as Labor Department officials texting Vermonters asking them to verify personal information as part of an enhanced benefits security program. The link in the text messages goes to a fraudulent site, officials warned on May 1.
The Labor Department said it has implemented additional identity verification measures for unemployment insurance claims and continues to work with federal partners and law enforcement to root out fraud.
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