BALTIMORE, MD—The Maryland Department of Labor on Thursday provided an update on the department’s ongoing unemployment insurance fraud detection, prevention, and investigation efforts.
With the record number of unemployment insurance claims filed and the additional federal benefits available during the COVID-19 pandemic, states across the nation have continued to see bad actors and fraudsters using illegally obtained data to file fraudulent unemployment insurance claims.
However, since the passage of the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act (CAA), which expanded the federal CARES Act programs and most notably offered an additional $300 a week to eligible claimants through the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, states have seen a significant spike in fraudulent activity.
Of the 243,186 new claims filed in Maryland since January 1st, 156,403 claims (64.31%) have been flagged as being potentially fraudulent due to new and existing aggressive security measures in place to protect taxpayers and the integrity of the state’s program. As fraudsters are becoming more brazen and adapting their tactics, Maryland continues to add new technology and safeguards to prevent and detect fraud.
With aggressive security measures in place, Labor continues to investigate potentially fraudulent in-state and out-of-state claims. With over 87% of claims flagged and investigated being confirmed as fraudulent, it is critical that the department reviews and verifies documentation manually.*
- Of the 161,897 out-of-state claims that have been identified as potentially fraudulent, 147,305 (90.99%) have either not uploaded the verification documentation requested or their documentation has been reviewed and denied.
- Of the 226,933 in-state claims that have been identified as potentially fraudulent, 191,358 (84.32%) have either not uploaded the verification documentation requested or their documentation has been reviewed and denied.
- Of the 388,830 claims flagged, there are currently 14,348 (3.69%) in-state and out-of-state potentially fraudulent claims pending manual review and verification by a team of specialists.
*Note that these numbers are subject to change as the department continues to flag potentially fraudulent claims. Labor continues to coordinate its investigation with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The department recently emailed all employers about potentially fraudulent charges appearing on their fourth quarter benefit charge statement because of an increase in the number of claims fraudulently filed in the names of people who are actively working.
This means that claims may be fraudulently filed for an employer’s employee, even though the employee is still working and is not unemployed. Please note that employers will not be charged for any fraudulent benefits associated with their account. All employers should carefully review their current and previous benefit charge statements to ensure that all claimant benefits charged to their account are accurate.
If an employer believes a fraudulent claim has been charged to their account, they should immediately file a benefit charge protest through their BEACON employer portal located at https://employer.beacon.labor.md.gov. The department will investigate their protest and will remove charges that are deemed fraudulent. For additional assistance, employers can contact the Employer Call Center by calling 410-949-0033.
Report Other Unemployment Insurance Fraud
If you believe that your information has been used to fraudulently file an unemployment insurance claim, please contact the Division of Unemployment Insurance’s Benefit Payment Control Unit by completing a “Request for Investigation of Unemployment Insurance Fraud” form and e-mailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you received a 1099-G tax form, but did not apply for unemployment insurance benefits in Maryland in 2020, then please complete an Affidavit Form and submit it along with picture ID to the Benefit Payment Control Unit by emailing email@example.com.
If you are a claimant and believe funds have been fraudulently withdrawn from your Bank of America unemployment insurance debit card, please contact Bank of America directly by calling 1-855-847-2029.
If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft, please read the Maryland State Police’s Identity Theft Protection Quick Guide to find additional resources and learn more about the next steps you should take to protect your identity. For more information, visit https://www.MDunemployment.com.