The Check is Not in the Mail

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27544250 - hacker using laptop lots of digits on the computer screen

Unemployment insurance fraud is big business – if it’s successful. The State of New Jersey is winning the battle against unemployment insurance fraudsters thanks to new technology. According to an article posted on NJ.com, there are between 1,600 to 2,000 attempts to bilk the system each week. But, with the new technology (Full disclosure: my company, LexisNexis, provides some of the technology), state authorities are now better able to track down creative perpetrators who have applied for benefits for which they do not qualify, nor deserve.

When applying for unemployment benefits, a person must certify that they are able and actively seeking work. (That means you can’t have another job while collecting unemployment benefits.)

The story states that a Bergen County couple, who applied for unemployment benefits while on a cruise to the Bahamas, logged on to the Department of Labor website from their ocean liner. What the couple didn’t consider is that the computer they used had a unique internet protocol (IP) address that showed its precise location. (You can probably guess that they were not cruising in New Jersey. Oops – busted!)

In fact, the state has put in place a host of anti-fraud measures that have saved New Jersey nearly $449 million over the past three years. Thanks to the use of ”identity proofing,” the state has been able to screen applicants by matching answers to background questions with public records. They also started cross-checking claims against the National Directory of New Hires to determine if those who had returned to work were still collecting benefits after starting a new job. The state also has begun to check unemployment claims against incarcerated individuals across the state’s county jails to avoid making undeserved payments.

Unemployment fraud is not just a New Jersey problem, but one that affects the entire nation. It is estimated that two to three percent of all unemployment claims may be fraudulent. Because many applications are completed online, unemployment office personnel are not personally meeting with applicants or grilling them about their efforts to find a job. That’s why the identity proofing technology is so important. Kudos to New Jersey for the great strides it has made in preventing abuse to the system that is meant to help those who truly deserve the benefits to get back on their feet and into a new job.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”NJ Targeting Unemployment Insurance Fraud; The Check May Not Be in the Mail,” written by Ted Sherman and published by NJ.com on June 23, 2014.

The giveaway was the return address.

When the Bergen County couple filing for unemployment certified they were “able and looking for work,” they did so the same way thousands of others do from home every week — by logging into the state Department of Labor website.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.