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UIA warns consumers about "imposter" unemployment claims

Global cyber attack may not be finished yet
Posted at 6:50 PM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 06:53:32-04

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency(UIA) is warning consumers about attempts made by criminals to file imposter claims in order to obtain unemployment benefits.

“There is a rise in unlawful unemployment claims across the nation and unfortunately criminals are taking advantage of this global pandemic. Michiganders who suspect an imposter claim has been filed in their name should contact the UIA immediately,” said UIA Director Steve Gray.

The UIA said the U.S.Secret Service (USSS) issued a national alert about an international criminal ring committing fraud against state unemployment programs.

The UIA said it is working with Michigan State Police Cyber Command and the Department of Technology Management and Budget Cybersecurity in addition to the USSS to get information on threat indicators related to national fraud activity.

The UIA said no personal data from claimants have been stolen from the UIA.

The UIA said fake claims are filed using previously stolen or fraudulent personal information.

"The expanded benefits available under the newly created federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program has resulted in increased activity among criminals particularly those posing as self-employed workers or independent contractors to illegally obtain benefits," the UIA said in a press release.

The UIA said it has developed additional fraud protections, "including additional requirements to verify identity and authenticate claim eligibility."

The UIA said the additional security measures could result in some changes to new and existing claimants.

The UIA said some existing claimants may have gotten "stop payment" notices on their accounts and have been sent instructions on how to submit additional information.

“We are working with law enforcement to identify and prevent scammers from accessing the system and will work to ensure all unemployment benefits are sent to the Michigan workers that deserve them," Gray said.

If you think you are a victim of unemployment identity theft, contact UIA immediately at Michigan.gov/UIA.

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