LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As fraudulent unemployment claims become a growing issue nationwide, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order Monday to fight the problem.
The executive order created Kentucky’s Unemployment Fraud Prevention Task Force, which is made up of leaders of many state agencies, including the commissioner of the Kentucky State Police, the executive director of Kentucky’s Homeland Security, the secretary of the state’s Transportation Cabinet, the state’s Chief Information Officer and the executive director of Kentucky’s Office of Unemployment Insurance.
“I did this because immediate steps are necessary to identify vulnerabilities and develop solutions to counter, prosecute and recover funds related to fraudulent unemployment claims that have been filed in the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” Beshear said.
According to Gov. Beshear, fraudsters have received more than $63 billion through fake claims across the country.
Laura Levesque told WAVE 3 News she hopes the task force works. She and her husband both received letters in January sent to their West Virginia home stating they qualified for unemployment benefits in Kentucky.
Thinking they were sent in error, she ignored the letters.
“Then I got a letter in February that over $1,100 had been deposited into our account,” Levesque said. “I paid attention to that one because I identified it as fraud.”
Shortly after Levesque filed a complaint with Kentucky’s OUI, she told WAVE 3 News she received another letter stating she qualified for additional benefits, and that they would be deposited onto a bank card that she doesn’t have.
“I’m angry,” Levesque said. “I know that there have been many data breaches and that many people’s data is out there. My guess is that the unemployment office is overwhelmed because they’re processing a lot of people, and they don’t have enough resources to (investigate).”
In addition to the members currently on Kentucky’s Unemployment Fraud Prevention Task Force, Gov. Beshear has asked other investigative agencies like the FBI and the Office of the Attorney General to join the group.
If you’ve been a victim of fraud, you can file a complaint with Kentucky’s OUI here.