Montana Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) today announced that the
agency has prevented over $220M in fraudulent Unemployment Insurance (UI)
payments since April 28.
begun implementing additional identity verification measures to help combat an
increase in criminal activity due to a sophisticated national unemployment
fraud scheme related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to these measures, certain unemployment
claimants may be asked to provide additional identity information to verify the
validity of their claim.
additional steps taken to prevent fraud, we’ve been able to stop this
widespread scheme to take advantage of the pandemic,”
Acting Commissioner Brenda
“While we have successfully prevented a large amount of fraud
up to this point, we are continuing our efforts to stop fraud from occurring,
while ensuring all eligible Montanans receive the benefits they deserve.”
mid-May, DLI has experienced a significant rise in UI fraud, resulting from a
national unemployment fraud scheme using stolen personal information from
external data breaches. From April 28 to June 7, DLI has identified over $10M
that has been paid out on possible fraudulent UI claims. DLI
is working with law enforcement, the U.S. Office of Inspector General, and
banking institutions to coordinate the recovery of these fraudulent payments.
the program integrity measures we are taking mean that some Montanans will
experience temporary delays in payment, by approximately one week, we believe
these steps are necessary to respond to this unemployment scam,”
Nordlund said. “We are working
rapidly to respond to this scheme and urge individuals who may have had a false
unemployment claim filed in their name to contact the Department.”
working to ensure Montanans are paid the unemployment benefits they are
eligible for while protecting against fraudulent activity. In addition to the
identity verification measures, the following fraud prevention steps have been
the number of staff members on the UI fraud investigation unit.
using data analytics to cross-match potential fraudulent information with other
state agencies, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies Integrity
Center, and other states across the U.S.
new phone line for calls from the public regarding UI fraud has been released
of any claim that indicates fraud.
encouraging those that receive a UI identity verification letter and have not
filed for benefits or believe they may be a victim of unemployment or identity
fraud to report it at
http://uid.dli.mt.gov/report-fraud immediately. The Federal Trade
Commission’s identity theft website at identitytheft.gov also provides
resources and a detailed step-by-step process for reporting and protecting
against identity theft.
are victims of unemployment fraud are not required to repay the stolen money.
Those that are victims of fraud and then must apply for UI benefits are still
able to do so.
thoroughly investigates all reports of potential, alleged, or suspected fraud.
Those found to have committed UI fraud are subject to penalties and/or criminal