FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Gov. Andy Beshear has signed an executive order creating an Unemployment Insurance Fraud Detection and Prevention Task Force to coordinate between state and federal agencies the detection, investigation, prosecution and prevention of unemployment insurance fraud in Kentucky.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States has seen an increase in fraudulent claims for unemployment insurance. To date more than $63 billion in fraudulent benefits has been paid nationwide. This fraud is complex and requires a multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional response, which the task force is designed to address.
“Like many other states across the country, Kentucky has seen a surge in fraudulent unemployment insurance claims,” said Gov. Beshear. “This task force will bring together the needed resources to combat this scourge.”
Task force members appointed by the governor include:
--The commissioner of the Kentucky State Police
--The executive director of the Kentucky Department of Homeland Security
--The secretary of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
--The state’s chief information officer
--The executive director of the Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance.
The task force may also include representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Secret Service, the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Diplomatic Service, the Kentucky Office of the Attorney General or other investigative entities the governor may deem appropriate.
In an ongoing effort to address the high volume of fraud in claims in Kentucky, the Office of Unemployment Insurance, or OUI, has added a new welcome screen to the claimant website with a more secure login. OUI has also updated the fraud form to report identity theft on the site, entered into a new partnership with ID.me, implemented reCaptcha and adopted new measures for out-of-state Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, putting a hold on those claims until identification can be verified.
Most recently, OUI announced it was stopping all claimants from making changes to the bank account information on file with the agency, after being made aware of claimants reporting unauthorized changes to their bank accounts.
System analysts are keeping an eye out for fraud and data breach attempts. They flag such anomalies as repeat bank accounts, out-of-state banks, duplicate email addresses and multiple names using the same bank account.
Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor launched a new website to educate the public about the growing problem of unemployment identity theft and provide reporting guidance for residents in every state.