A new website is available for people to report cases of identity theft related to unemployment insurance claims, as state and federal officials continue to investigate thousands of cases of unemployment fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Virginia Employment Commission said Friday that the U.S. Department of Labor has introduced a website at www.dol.gov/fraud and www.dol.gov/fraud/es (for Spanish speakers), to help people whose identities have been stolen and used fraudulently to file for unemployment benefits.
“Unemployment insurance fraud is a national issue that every state is struggling with, and Virginia is not immune,” said Ellen Marie Hess, commissioner of the Virginia Employment Commission.
Virginia has paid out more than $12 billion in unemployment claims since last March for hundreds of thousands of Virginia residents who were laid off from their jobs during the pandemic.
Of that, about $5.2 million worth of fraudulent claims have been identified, and state officials say about $2.3 million of that has been recovered. In the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, or PUA, a special program for people who would not normally be eligible for unemployment benefits, a total of about $46.8 million in fraud has been identified out of about $1.6 billion paid. State officials say they have recovered $4.5 million in fraudulent claims.