L&I Launches New Identity Verification Steps To Thwart PUA Fraud

HARRISBURG, PA — Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak announced the additional layer of anti-fraud measures through ID.me has gone into effect.

L&I recently contracted with federally certified identity verification provider ID.me in response to a nationwide scam targeting the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. The new measure will allow L&I to more quickly determine the legitimacy of new PUA claims and help legitimate claimants get the payments they need.

“The new anti-fraud steps we are taking with ID.me allow us to more efficiently process PUA claims while reducing fraud,” said Secretary Oleksiak. “Pennsylvania families are relying on the money they receive through the PUA program to pay their bills, buy food, and keep a roof over their families. ID.me is another step we are taking to help out-of-work Pennsylvanians get the PUA benefits they’re eligible for while preventing fraudsters from illegally lining their pockets.”

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Claimants should check their PUA dashboards for secure notifications from ID.me and promptly follow the directions they receive to verify their identities. Only PUA claimants who have been contacted can complete the steps. If claimants do not complete the steps, their payments may continue to be held.

L&I contracted with ID.me to complete additional identity verification after detecting a surge of fraudulent claims through the PUA program in mid-September. Payments to all new claimants for the PUA program were temporarily paused while additional identity verification steps could be implemented to prevent payouts to fraudsters.

ID.me can initially vet about 5,000 claimants daily and expects to ramp up its capacity in the coming days. This new step is in addition to several others taken since fraudulent activity began to be detected in the PUA program in several states this past Spring.

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This fraud, which is widespread in many states throughout the country, is occurring when scammers use personal information obtained through previous, non-government data breaches to file for PUA under stolen identities.

ID.me is a federally certified identity verification provider that specializes in digital identity protection. ID.me is already assisting several other states with preventing fraud within the PUA program. L&I continues to work with law enforcement officials to investigate suspected cases of fraud and bring scammers to justice.

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