Wethersfield, CT – Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) Commissioner Danté Bartolomeo is warning Connecticut employers and residents of an uptick in unemployment benefits fraud due to identity theft. Connecticut is among states being targeted by criminals who are flooding the unemployment system using stolen identities to file for benefits. During the pandemic, stolen identities were available on the dark web for about one dollar. Criminals are still mining this resource to purchase names, Social Security Numbers, birth dates, and other personal information that they use to apply for credit cards, bank loans, and unemployment benefits. Connecticut’s unemployment system is currently receiving several thousand claims per day; CTDOL suspects around 75% are fraudulent and is withholding payment.
Commissioner Bartolomeo said, “CTDOL takes immediate action to notify employers when someone has filed against them, as a result, employers are often the first to know that an identity was stolen. In many cases, that employee still works for them. Victims of ID theft also receive a notice of monetary determination, a notification that alerts them that someone has filed a claim using their identity. It’s critical that employers and employees report this fraud to CTDOL so we can protect benefits and the Trust Fund from fraud.”
Upon receiving an unemployment claim, ReEmployCT, the state’s unemployment tax and benefits system, automatically sends employers a notice that a claim has been filed against them. If an employer receives a notification for an employee who still works for the company, it is an identity theft red flag. Employers should respond quickly to these notices and the victim of ID theft should report this on the CTDOL Identity Theft Report form and with local law enforcement. Filling out the ID theft form helps CTDOL protect the victim’s future unemployment benefits; it is available in English and Spanish.
Residents should also report identity theft to CTDOL if they receive a monetary determination letter or a 1099 tax form from CTDOL but have not filed for unemployment benefits.
CTDOL’s Fraud Watch webpage has comprehensive information on preventing, reporting, and recovering from fraud and identity theft. Additionally, information for employers is found on the ReEmployCT employer page.
The Connecticut Department of Labor works closely with local, state, and federal agencies and law enforcement to prevent unemployment fraud and protect the employer-funded Trust Fund. During the pandemic, CTDOL reestablished the partnership with the Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney’s Office to provide a direct line of communication between CTDOL integrity unit staff, investigators, and prosecutors.