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Massachusetts DUA issues unemployment update as $158 million in fraud recovered

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Boston, MA — Criminal enterprises in possession of stolen personal information from earlier commercial data breaches have been attempting to file large amounts of illegitimate unemployment claims through the Massachusetts unemployment system. This is part of a national unemployment fraud scheme.

In order to ensure the integrity of the unemployment system, the Department of Unemployment Assistance continues to implement additional identity verification measures that may temporarily delay the payment timeframe for some unemployment claims in Massachusetts. The Department of Unemployment Assistance has partnered with the Massachusetts State Police, the Department of Corrections, and the National Guard on this identity verification effort

“Protecting the integrity of the unemployment system and ensuring benefits are only going to valid claimants is the top priority of the Department of Unemployment Assistance,” said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta. “It is unfortunate that because of this criminal activity, people who really need our support may face delays in receiving the benefits they need. We will continue to work with our state and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as our dedicated constituent service personnel, to ensure that those with valid unemployment claims receive financial assistance during these difficult times.”

Individuals who believe a false unemployment claim has been filed in their name are urged to utilize the Department of Unemployment Assistance fraud contact form at mass.gov/unemployment-fraud or to call the DUA customer service department at 877-626-6800.

DUA has issued data on recent unemployment claims, denials, and fraud recovery.

DUA claims submitted to UI Online with effective dates of 3/8 to 6/30

Initial claims submitted
976,123

Initial claims paid
702,789

Initial claims denied
183,144

Appeals pending
26,098

PUA claims submitted since 4/16 to 6/30

Total claims submitted to date
649,764

Total claims eligible to be paid
311,741

Total claims denied
282,440

Total Appeals filed
43,911

Verified Fraudulent Claims to date (6-20-20)

PUA and DUA
58,616

Fraud Recovered to date (6-20-20)

PUA and DUA
$158,000,000

The Department of Unemployment Assistance has hired Ernst & Young to conduct a forensic accounting investigation into the fraud scheme, and additional updates related to this criminal activity will be posted as soon as they are available.

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