WV WorkForce fraud claims affect unemployment benefits

Local News

KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Thousands of fraud applications have been sent to WorkForce West Virginia for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

According to WorkForce West Virginia, the fraud includes receiving a Key Bank debit card in the mail. This debit card is one of the ways the PUA unemployment funds are paid out.

Officials say if you didn’t file for unemployment and receive a car, it’s most likely a fake, and you could be held liable if you use it. The state also asks that you report it to WorkForce.

“There are bad actors out there filing claims in the name of West Virginians and trying to take advantage of the CARES Act program. What’s really unfortunate about this situation is that fraudulent claims slow down the process for folks who’ve lost their job, need help, and have been waiting on an unemployment check.”

Scott Adkins, acting commissioner for WorkForce West Virginia.

Federal officials say across the country, states are receiving fraudulent unemployment claims being made by hackers who are using personal information obtained in the 2017 Equifax data breach, which affected 147 million Americans..

Information stolen from that breach include names, addresses, phone numbers, social and driver’s license numbers, according to federal officials.

Adkins says once a claim is filed, it sends the claimant a debit card through the mail and no money is on the card until someone from WorkForce can verify the claimant’s identity and income.

At this time, WorkForce officials are removing fraudulent claims from their system.

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