Lots of scams and cases of fraud have come to light amid the coronavirus pandemic. New York State and Governor Andrew Cuomo have announced a tool that will (hopefully) reduce the risk when it comes to unemployment.

A new tool was introduced on Thursday to verify identification to fight identity theft-based unemployment fraud. The Department of Labor (DOL) says using source will also speed-up claims processing to give out benefits more efficiently.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, which was around March of last year, the DOL says it has found over 521 thousand fraudulent claims, stopped over $6.4 billion in payments to criminals, and distributed over $70 billion in benefits to 4.2 million unemployed New Yorkers. The new web resource, ID.me, will help New Yorkers filing genuine claims get their money faster.

Cuomo said the pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty for New Yorkers.

The fact that criminals would use these dual crises as cover to defraud is unconscionable and we’re using every tool in our arsenal to stop them. We’re also taking this opportunity to fine-tune the UI system and using state-of-the-art technologies to make sure that benefits go to New Yorkers with legitimate claims and expediting the process so individuals and families get the benefits they need faster.

The Department of Labor did say that a majority of the time, they catch the criminals involved before they have any success with their efforts surrounding the fraud. They also say they are increasing anti-fraud efforts with a new fraud-reporting website that includes information about protecting your identity from cyber criminals.

News10 says criminals succeed in defrauding the state’s unemployment system using the real identities of New Yorkers who are not unemployed, likely stolen in data breaches at banks, insurance companies, and employers.

If you’ve received a letter from DOL but did not apply for unemployment, file a report online. DOL says any fraudulent charges will be automatically cleared from your account.


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