Fraudsters have been using people’s identity to get cash meant for those who’ve lost their jobs during the pandemic, specifically self-employed and gig workers.
Investigators say they’ve stopped a total of $44 million from getting into the wrong pockets, with $28 million halted before it was stolen and $16 million to be paid back.
“This fraud issue has really affected a lot of people," said Julia Simon-Mishel, supervising attorney for the Unemployment Compensation Unit at Philadelphia’s Legal Assistance. "We have actually many clients who have been victims of this fraud. They have had identity stolen. They have had their identities used."
She says claimants may not realize their benefits may have been stalled becasue they have been flagged as needing to confirm their identity.
“Unfortunately they have to wait until the government goes through and confirms and looks at those identity documents, and then will release benefits," she said. "It is taking a very long time, and in the process, people are hurting a lot.”