Fraud prompts Vermont to disable online unemployment filing

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A spike in fraudulent unemployment claims has prompted the Vermont Department of Labor to stop accepting first-time unemployment claims that are filed online, the department says.

The department took the action after a review found that up to 90% of new claims were being flagged as fraudulent.

Now people who need to file first-time unemployment claims must call the department.

Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington says that when the department stopped accepting first-time claims online, the number of applications fell by 90% and so did the fraud.

“Our ultimate goal is to protect Vermonters, whether that be ensuring individuals receive timely benefits or preventing fraudsters from using the identities of innocent Vermonters to defraud the state,” Harrington said in a statement. “In this case, the most secure solution was to remove the application and make the criminals have to call to open a claim.”

Anyone who receives mail or notices from the Department of Labor, specifically the unemployment insurance division, and has not applied for benefits, should report the contact immediately.

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