Fraudulent unemployment applications have contributed to the rise in claim numbers for the weeks of May 8 and May 15 according to ESD’s Press Release on May 20. While initial unemployment claims are 86% below the same period last year, these two weeks ended with 58% and 18.2% increases over the previous week, respectively.
Three sectors with the highest initial claim increase are Healthcare and Social Assistance, Educational Services, and Retail Trade. With the rollback to phase 2 in three counties in early May, it is not surprising for the Retail sector, the third-largest employment sector in our state, to experience a high increase in furlough or layoffs.
ESD reported having controls in place to identify fraudulent claims so they are not paid. However, employers and workers should stay vigilant in reviewing all notices from the Employment Security Department. Reporting imposter fraud and fraud tips are accessible online.
Employers frequently receive UI claim notices tied to names that have never worked for them, but ESD does not provide instructions or a portal to report such claims online. For now, it is imperative to write a note of fraudulent claim explanation and use the ESD fax or mail information on these UI notices to report fraud as soon as possible.