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Unemployment fraud running rampant in Kentucky

Published: Mar. 26, 2021 at 10:49 AM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - More Kentuckians are becoming victims of unemployment fraud.

People are telling us of getting letters in the mail saying they qualified or are getting payments when they never applied. Even a Kentucky State Senator was a victim.

State and national agencies say they’re investigating and responding.

A man who lives here in Frankfort says he got a letter with the last four digits of his social security number telling him he was getting unemployment. The problem? He retired two years ago.

That’s just one example of thousands.

State officials say criminals are buying information off the dark web and getting people’s information. They say it’s not something that happened in Kentucky but it’s happening from previous data breaches.

What’s scary is the information from breaches is bought and sold every day and then scammers file these false claims.

It’s happening to a wide variety of people, even Senator Whitney Westerfield got a letter saying he qualified for unemployment insurance in Pennsylvania, along with a check card that he called “frightening.”

Amy Cubbage is an attorney with the governor’s office and says the US Department of Labor has a website that addresses this.

“And a way for you to report fraud, if you do get reports from multiple states. So, that is also linked at our kcc.ky.gov website if you need that access,” Cubbage said.

State officials say COVID-19 did create a lot of loopholes that criminals have found ways to jump through and take advantage of the system. A spokesperson for the attorney general’s office says they are currently working through 3,000 fraud claims since January.

Officials say it is very difficult to determine where and when identifications were stolen.

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