ALBANY, N.Y. – The New York State Department of Labor says it has stopped more than 42,000 fraudulent unemployment claims, that could have falsely paid out more than $1 billion, since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March.
According to the department, they’ve sent more fraud cases to federal prosecutors in the past five months than they have in the last 10 years.
“We have a robust and experienced team of fraud investigators and are working aggressively with partners in law enforcement to identify fraud and hold these criminals accountable,” said Robert Reardon, state labor commissioner.
Officials say the criminals are likely using information stolen in previous data breaches to file fraudulent claims, and illegally collect benefits using the names of people who are not unemployed.
To prevent identity theft, the department recommends changing passwords and placing free fraud alerts on accounts through Experian, TransUnion or Equifax.