Labor and Economic Opportunity
Residents warned of new wave of criminal attempts to file imposter claims in pursuit of benefits
April 7, 2021
Media Contact: Lynda Robinson, 313-456-2945
Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA), like other states across the country, remains under attack by criminals. Since Friday, April 2, Michigan has seen a dramatic increase in new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims likely filed by criminals that have been halted for identity verification. No payments have been sent to the approximately 100,000 flagged claims.
"Because of the additional fraud protections we developed last year at the onset of these coordinated attacks on state unemployment agencies, these fraudulent claims have been stopped and no payments have been sent," said Liza Estlund Olson, acting director of the Unemployment Insurance Agency. "We continue to be vigilant in protecting the integrity of the system and the benefits for those who rightfully deserve them."
Imposter claims are filed using previously stolen or fraudulent personal information - no personal data from claimants has been stolen from the UIA. The expanded benefits available under the federal PUA program have resulted in increased activity among criminals, particularly those posing as self-employed workers or independent contractors to illegally obtain benefits.
UIA has alerted state and federal partners on the Unemployment Insurance Fraud Task Force created by the Michigan Department of Attorney General, as well as the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) to this new wave of claims.
How to Know If You May Be a Victim of Unemployment Identity Theft
When fraudulent or suspicious claims are identified by the UIA, a Request for Information letter that aides in verifying a claimant's identity is sent by mail to the address on the claim. In addition, when an individual files a claim for unemployment insurance, they will receive a written Monetary Determination letter.
If you receive either of these letters from the UIA, and did not file a claim for benefits, you may be a victim of identity theft. Please visit Michigan.gov/UIA and click on "Report Fraud or Identity Theft" to alert the Agency.
Once the identity theft has been reported and the investigation is concluded, you will be sent a null and void determination letter that should be kept for your records. Be aware that you may continue to receive correspondence from the UIA until the matter is resolved. Because each case must be manually investigated, there will be a delay in closing cases.