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News UPDATE: Nationwide Unemployment Scam Targets Massachusetts Claimants

2/25/2021
  • Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development
  • Department of Unemployment Assistance

BOSTONToday, the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) released updated information regarding the scope and extent of the national unemployment fraud scam as it relates to Massachusetts. As previously announced, criminal enterprises in possession of stolen personal information from earlier, unrelated commercial data breaches continue to attempt to file large numbers of illegitimate unemployment claims through the Massachusetts unemployment system. 

In order to ensure the integrity of the unemployment system, DUA continues to apply enhanced identity verification measures that may temporarily delay the payment timeframe for some unemployment claims in Massachusetts. DUA is also working with state and federal law enforcement agencies, municipalities, and dedicated constituent service personnel to address the national unemployment fraud scheme and recover fraudulent payments. DUA’s analysis of the fraud scheme includes both claims that have been reported by individuals whose identity was used for a fraudulent claim and claims that have failed ID verification and other program integrity measures.

Individuals who believe a false unemployment claim has been filed in their name are urged to utilize the Department of Unemployment Assistance fraud contact form at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/report-unemployment-benefits-fraud.

The DUA call center handles around 16,000 calls per day and is staffed by around 670 individuals with an additional 300 people who work on the adjudication of unemployment claims apart from the call center.  The DUA customer service department can be reached at (877) 626-6800.  The highest traffic hours for the DUA call center are on Monday mornings.

1099-G forms are typically sent to unemployment claimants for tax filing purposes, covering benefits received for the previous year. DUA has excluded sending 1099-Gs to individuals who reported a fraudulent claim filed in their name as long as the information matched with those in the PUA and UIOL systems. However, if an individual has received a 1099-G reflecting payments of benefits that the individual never applied for or received, they should fill out the fraud reporting form: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/report-unemployment-benefits-fraud. DUA will issue corrected 1099-Gs for those individuals, and will send the corrected information to the IRS and DOR as well. Individuals who receive a 1099-G in error will not be required to pay taxes on benefits.

Unemployment Insurance Phishing Scam

Claimants should also be aware of an unemployment phishing scam that is occurring in Massachusetts and similarly in other states. Massachusetts constituents have received a text message that includes a link requesting unemployment claimants enter their login and password on a site that looks similar to the official Unemployment Insurance (UI) Online website. If a claimant has received this text message, please do not respond. Responses to requests from DUA should only be uploaded through your secure account
at 
https://uionline.detma.org/Claimant/Core/Login.ASPX or https://duaverify.eol.state.ma.us. DUA will never ask a claimant to reply to a text or email with personal information.

Massachusetts Unemployment Claimant Fraud Data

Unemployment claims submitted to Unemployment Insurance Online (UIO)
(April 2020-January 2021)
 
Total claims submitted 1.2M
Total claims eligible to be paid 957K
Total claims denied 261K
Total appeals pending 28K

 

Unemployment claims submitted to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
(April 2020-January 2021)
 
Total claims submitted 946K
Total claims eligible to be paid 282K
Total claims denied 627K
Total appeals pending 40K

 

Claims identified as fraud due to reporting by individuals
(April 2020-January 2021)
 
PUA and UIO 156K

 

Issued Payments Confirmed to be Fraudulent
(April 2020-January 2021)
 
PUA and UIO $219M

 

Additional Issued Payments which are Potentially Fraudulent
(April 2020-January 2021)
 
PUA and UIO $468M

 

Recovered Fraudulent Payments
(April 2020-January 2021)
 
PUA and UIO $252M

 

Total Confirmed Payments to Unemployment Claimants
(April 2020-January 2021)
 
PUA and UIO $15.7B

 

Fraudulent Payments Prevented from Disbursement
(April 2020-January 2021)
 
PUA and UIO $19.2B

 

Note: The Department of Unemployment Assistance continues to analyze this ongoing national fraud scheme and has engaged a nationally recognized forensic accounting firm to assist in fraud investigation. The above figures may be subject to change based upon that analysis.

 

Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development  

EOLWD manages the Commonwealth’s workforce development and labor departments to ensure that workers, employers, and the unemployed have the tools and training needed to succeed in the Massachusetts economy.

Department of Unemployment Assistance 

DUA oversees the unemployment insurance (UI) program, which provides temporary income assistance to eligible workers in Massachusetts. DUA also determines and collects employer contributions to the UI program. To report fraud or get help with your claim, call Unemployment Customer Assistance at (877) 626-6800.
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