BALTIMORE, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - The Maryland Department of Labor announced Thursday that more than 156,000 potentially fraudulent unemployment claims have been detected since the beginning of January.
Of the 243,186 new claims filed in Maryland since Jan. 1 of this year, 156,403 claims, or 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.
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.
More than 87% of claims have been flagged and investigated being confirmed as fraudulent.
Of the 161,897 out-of-state claims that have been identified as potentially fraudulent, 147,305, or 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, or 84.32%, have either not uploaded the verification documentation requested or their documentation has been reviewed and denied.
There are currently 14,348, or 3.69%, in-state and out-of-state potentially fraudulent claims pending manual review and verification by a team of specialists out of the 388,830 claims flagged.
The department recently e-mailed 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. 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. The department will investigate their protest and will remove charges that are deemed fraudulent.
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 e-mailing email@example.com.
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 MDunemployment.com.