Fraudulent unemployment claims in WV in the tens of thousands

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — WorkForce West Virginia is continuing to receive “tens of thousands” of fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits. Most of the claims are being filed by people out of state, or even from foreign countries. The West Virginia State Auditors office is helping the workforce investigate.

“I can’t give you an exact number, but it’s really bad. What is happened is that we all know about these data breaches that have happened. And so now the fraudsters have a lot more access to our personal information, And when incidents happen like Coronavirus they always take advantage of chaos, to their own benefit,” said J.B. McCuskey, (R) WV State Auditor.

One source tell us that at least 1,000 fraudulent claims are being filed at WorkForce every week, and many of the scams are computer-generated, using personal information gleaned from identity thefts. The ever-changing federal unemployment supplemental pay is attracting the scammers.

“While it’s doing that, you have all these opportunities for fraud. In this last bill, I believe there is money in there for our WorkForce and our unemployment compensation folks, to really modernize and fraud-proof their systems,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, (R) West Virginia.

One scam involves people being sent blank 1099-G tax forms with a request that you fill out vital information, and mail it back in. WorkForce West Virginia, says if you’ve not been collecting unemployment, don’t do it.

“If you receive something in the mail or get an email claiming to be someone at WorkForce West Virginia, and you’ve never dealt with the agency, that’s a red flag. You should call them and report it, said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.

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