Gov. Beshear announces task force aimed at tackling fraudulent unemployment claims

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 8:53 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - From a backlog of claims, to being inundated with fraudulent ones, Kentucky’s Office for Unemployment Insurance has had a challenging year.

“Immediate steps are necessary to identify vulnerabilities and develop solutions,” Gov. Beshear said.

It’s why Gov. Beshear signed an executive order Monday developing a special task force assigned to address a surge of fraudulent unemployment claims across Kentucky. It’s a nationwide issue that has led to $63 billion in fraudulent payments.

“It’s really been stressful,” Dawn Carpenter said.

Carpenter is one of countless Kentuckians who have filed for unemployment during the pandemic, and her claim still hasn’t been fully processed. On top of that, she fell victim to fraud.

“I’m receiving letters with my name on them, my address, but wrong social,” Carpenter said.

It was an obvious red flag for her. She says she’s tried to report it to unemployment officials, but hasn’t been able to get through. She was able to report it to the attorney general’s office. Meanwhile, she’s still waiting for updates on her actual claim.

“This is your bread and butter at this moment, and someone is taking your bread and butter essentially, and I don’t understand why this keeps happening to people here,” Carpenter said.

In addition to the task force, the office has made changes to beef up security. Soon, new and existing claimants will need to create more complex pin numbers to their account, and all new claimants will only be paid by paper check.

“We’ll continue to take these steps to do anything we can to prevent fraud,” Gov. Beshear said.

As for the schemers, Carpenter has a message for them.

“It’s not right. Eventually you’re going to have to answer for it. You may not be answering for it now, but eventually what goes around comes around,” she said.

The U.S. Department of Labor has launched a website to educate about the growing problem of unemployment identity theft and provide reporting guidance for citizens in every state.

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