The coronavirus pandemic has caused all kinds of financial problems for workers worldwide. New York is no different from any other place in the world. Unfortunately, unemployment has been sent skyrocketing here like everywhere else. Perhaps people thought that they could slip fraudulent claims into the overburdened system, but they were wrong.

According to WNYTV New York State officials with the Department of Labor have announced that they stopped more than 42,000 fraudulent unemployment claims since the pandemic began in mid March.

There is no doubt that unemployment offices were overburdened with massive claims in mid-March. The federal government rolled out their $1 trillion recovery plan and a big incentive was unemployment benefits with enhanced benefits included.

Newly unemployed workers became frustrated with their attempts to receive unemployment benefits. Websites were not prepared for the sudden increase in volume and frustrated people were forced to try to call into unemployment offices for hours, sometimes days.

The unemployment system was overburdened, but it was not broken, so when individuals attempted to file fraudulent unemployment claims, they were caught.

The scheme worked on a simplistic basis. It involved individuals using the identities of working New Yorkers to try to illegally collect benefits in the name of people who were not unemployed.

Data breaches from companies were the sources that con artists use to obtain names to use in their scheme. The scammers got names from stolen data breaches from companies such as major employers, banks, insurance companies, and other institutions.

Having information stolen and used in an unemployment scam just added another layer of burden for people trying to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. So far the government was able to stop more than 42,000 fraudulent unemployment claims. Who knows how many more claims will be found in the future!

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