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Scams Cause Indiana’s Unemployment Applications To See Biggest Increase In Nation

By Justin Hicks, IPB News | Published on in Business, Government, Health, Technology
The Uplink system where Hoosiers can apply for unemployment benefits. The Department of Workforce Development says it has been targeted by "scammers." (Justin Hicks / IPB News)
The online Uplink system where Hoosiers can apply for unemployment benefits. The Department of Workforce Development says it has been targeted by "scammers." (Justin Hicks/IPB News)

According to data released Thursday, Indiana had, by far, the largest spike in new claims for unemployment assistance in the country last week. The state says most of them are coming from foreign identity thieves trying to steal money.

The report shows the number of new applications for unemployment benefits almost doubled in one week. Indiana’s Department of Workforce Development said the increased benefits and self-reported nature of the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program makes it a lucrative target.

Josh Richardson, DWD Chief of Staff, said as the agency tries to weed out fraudulent claims, some legitimate claims will get extra scrutiny, too.

“People who have recently filed PUA claims definitely are sort of in this cloud of increased fraud that we’ve seen in the past couple of weeks and we’re likely to have to hold up some of those for processing,” he said.

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The agency is urging Hoosiers to protect their personal information like Social Security numbers and addresses. To report suspected unemployment fraud, visit DWD’s fraud reporting webpage.

Contact reporter Justin at jhicks@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.