NJ Fighting Unemployment Insurance Fraud
By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. October 9, 2012
New Jersey is expanding its efforts to combat unemployment insurance fraud.
A new program called ‘Identity Proofing’ requires people filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits to answer multiple-choice questions.
New Jersey Labor Commissioner Hal Wirths says information obtained from public records such as relatives names and automobile ownership will allow the state to determine if identity thieves are trying to file phony claims.
“We’re never going to stop it all. That’s being naïve but we’re going to make it very, very difficult. So anyone listening today that is committing fraud, I’d advise you to stop certifying that check because we’re going to get you. We may already have you. You may not even know that we have you but in the next couple weeks you’ll find out that we have you.”
The state is paying more than $2 million for the three-year contract with the company that operates the verification system.
Assistant Labor Commissioner Ron Marino expects it will be well worth the cost.
“Last year we paid out over 600,000 claims. Even if you take one tenth of one percent of that 600,000 claims that were filed, you’re going to be saving five to eight million dollars right out of the chute and that’s an extremely conservative amount.”
Anyone who doesn’t pass the verification process will have to show ID at a regional Labor Department office to get their unemployment benefits.