GREENSBORO, N.C. — At least $1.6 million in unemployment payments made in North Carolina for the second quarter (April, May, and June) were found to be fraudulent claims. 2WTK has a breakdown from the NC Department of Commerce below.
Some of this money was people misrepresenting their work losses, but
some of it is due to crooks. It’s a problem nationwide.
“They steal mail out of boxes, they send fake emails and texts. Those situations that seem too good to be true, that you won a contest that you never even entered as well as the more high-tech with the data breaches that we've heard about over the last number of years all contribute to it,” said Sgt. Ted Bohner of the Indiana State Police. "There are people out there wanting to steal your identity at all times and this just gives a great opportunity for them,”
You might not even know someone used your information to make an unemployment claim. In fact, experts say we should all assume our information is out there on the dark web and being used for something.
The best way to protect yourself is to know what your credit report looks like and make sure the only loans, bills and credit cards on there are yours.
You get a free credit report from each one of the agencies every year. The trick for best protection is to spread them out throughout the year.
October 2020: Experian
February 2021: Trans Union
June 2021: Equifax
Then you start the process all over.
Checking your credit report does not hurt your credit score.
To really keep your credit report safe you should freeze your credit.
You can still use your credit cards but no new cards or loans can be taken out in your name unless you lift the freeze.
Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788 Atlanta, GA 30348//1-800-685-1111
Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554 Allen, TX 75013//1-888-397-3742
TU Protected Consumer Freeze
P.O. Box 380 Woodlyn, PA 19094//1-800-916-8800
NC DES breakdown of overpayments:
According to the most recent data (second quarter of 2020), between April 1 and June 30, approximately $4.1 million was determined to have been overpaid in benefits for state unemployment insurance. Of that, approximately $3.6 million was identified as non-fraud overpayment and approximately $550,000 as fraud overpayment. (note: these were identified as overpayments between April 1 and June 30; the benefits may have been paid out to the claimants before this period.)
In that same period, approximately $220,000 in pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) was determined to have been overpaid ($80,000 non-fraud, $140,000 fraud). PUA is the federal program that provides unemployment assistance to people who are not eligible for state unemployment insurance, such as independent contractors and self-employed workers.
Approximately $8.2 million was determined to have been overpaid in federal pandemic unemployment compensation—the federal program that paid an extra $600 on top of a person’s weekly unemployment benefits. ($7.2m non-fraud, $1m fraud). If a person was found they should not have received unemployment benefits from state unemployment insurance or PUA, they were also not entitled to the extra $600 payments.
Overpayment information for the other federal program, pandemic emergency unemployment compensation, is not yet available.
During the second quarter (April 1 – June 30), more than $400,000 related to fraud overpayments was recovered, and approximately $3.8 million related to non-fraud overpayments was recovered. (note: recoveries made during this quarter can be related to overpayments that were found in previous quarters. Likewise, overpayments identified during this quarter may be recovered in future quarters.)