MADISON – The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) today announced new resources and tools for individuals to report suspected fraud against the Unemployment Insurance program.
As reported across the nation, fraudsters are targeting state UI systems in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic through various schemes and identity theft. Since March, Wisconsin’s UI system has flagged an increase in bad actors using stolen personal information from sources outside of the agency, such as from massive external data breaches like the Equifax breach, to apply for benefits and attempt to route payments to their own bank accounts.
DWD announced today additional ways to report this type of imposter fraud, as well as additional tools for claimants who suspect they may be a victim of fraud, including:
- An updated web form to report fraud:
- UI Fraud FAQs updated to include specific identity theft questions:
DWD’s UI fraud page now also includes the latest alerts from the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/ui/fraud/scams.htm.
As of June 8, the DWD identified 3,306 Social Security numbers associated with suspect fraudulent activity. There were 1,825 unsuccessful attempts to access the online portal. DWD’s fraud safeguards have prevented more than $10 million in possible fraudulent overpayments. However, DWD has identified 1,479 suspected fraudulently filed claims and $1.27 million in possible erroneous payments. Investigations are ongoing and will confirm the exact total of erroneously paid benefits. Since March 15, DWD has made $1.8 billion in overall UI payments, including through the federal PUA and FPUC programs.
“DWD’s strong anti-fraud mechanisms and diligent DWD staff are performing very well at safeguarding the UI program for those who are eligible as well as employers,” DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman said. “Sadly, we continue to see bad actors attacking the programs designed to support our state’s most vulnerable. To stay ahead of the fraud perpetrators, we will continue to enhance our ability to fight UI fraud and ask the public to stay vigilant in its efforts to report any suspect activity.”