NEW YORK (WKBW) — New York State has launched a new identity verification tool to help fight unemployment fraud and speed the processing of claims.
Govenor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement Thursday, stating the New York State Department of Labor has identified over 500,000 fraudulent claims and stopped over $6.4 billion in payments since the start of the pandemic.
The new identity verification tool, ID.me, will also be joined by a new NYSDOL website which will provide applicants with a step-by-step guide for protecting their identity from cyber criminals.
"This global public health crisis has created economic uncertainty for countless New Yorkers. The fact that criminals would use these dual crises as cover to defraud is unconscionable and we're using every tool in our arsenal to stop them," Governor Cuomo said. "We're also taking this opportunity to finetune the UI system and using state-of-the-art technologies to make sure that benefits go to New Yorkers with legitimate claims and expediting the process so individuals and families get the benefits they need faster."
Officials say NYSDOL has distributed over $70 billion in legitimate unemployment benefits to 4.2 million New Yorkers since March 2020.
The state says the previous system of submitting identity documents online or via fax that could often take weeks to complete has been replaced by ID.me which allows applicants to quickly and easily verify their identity online.
"This new ID verification tool and these additional resources add to the Department of Labor's constantly-expanding arsenal of weapons to combat fraud," State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said. "Every day, we leverage highly experienced investigators, artificial intelligence, and other sophisticated techniques to identify fraud as quickly as possible, stop these criminals in their tracks, and protect New Yorkers' unemployment system."
The state says if you have received a monetary determination letter from NYSDOL but did not apply for unemployment benefits you should file a report here.