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Kentucky unemployment fraud up despite fewer claims filed

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 4:56 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 27, 2021 at 6:30 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Despite the dwindling number of unemployment claims being filed compared to the beginning of the COVID pandemic, fraud within the Kentucky unemployment system is up, according to numbers obtained by WAVE 3 News.

In June 2020, 161,026 unemployment claims were filed, with 5,477 being marked as potentially fraudulent. A year later, total claims dropped to 55,492, however potentially fraudulent claims spiked to 20,108.

Kentucky has put several measures in place to make it more difficult for fraudsters to file fake unemployment claims, or to hack into people’s accounts, including revamping the unemployment website to add increased security like requiring PINs for claimants to access their accounts.

However, those measures have made it more difficult for claimants to get paid.

Emily Campbell told WAVE 3 News she filed for unemployment at the beginning of the pandemic, but in February the checks stopped coming. Her claim is marked under “fact-finding,” and is likely being investigated because of identity issues.

“I know that a lot of this was because of people making fraudulent claims,” she said. “I get that, but for the ones like me who had legitimate claims, it should’ve never happened to.”

There are currently 112,011 pending claims that do not have any stops for fraud or identity waiting to be processed by unemployment. Ninety-eight of those pending claims were filed in March 2020.

“There’s people in Kentucky who are literally losing everything they have, everything they own, everything they stand for, because they haven’t been able to get paid,” Campbell said.

If you believe you’ve been a victim of unemployment fraud, click here.

You can also report fraud to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) or by calling 866-720-5721.

Copyright 2021 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.