State officials warned against a widespread identity theft fraud ring targeting those receiving COVID-19 unemployment benefits.
Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak said the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program is the primary target of the scam.
“These fraudsters are using personal information previously stolen from sources outside of commonwealth agencies to file for PUA benefits. Many Pennsylvanians are not even aware their identities were stolen in the past until they receive correspondence or a debit card from our UC office. I urge everyone to remain vigilant, recognize the scam warning signs, and know what to do if you become a victim,” he said.
State and federal agencies have identified more than 4,000 fraudulent claims in Pennsylvania for PUA benefits and prevented more than $44 million in fraudulent payments.
“Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funds are intended to help Pennsylvanians who lost their jobs because of the coronavirus,” said U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain. “Thieves who attempt to take these funds are taking advantage of others’ misfortune – ripping them off while also ripping off all taxpayers who fund the program.
Signs of potentially fraudulent activity include: receiving benefits or receiving correspondence about benefits when you haven’t applied for them or someone coming to your residence claiming unemployment benefits were incorrectly mailed there.
Additional information on what to do if fraud is suspected is available at www.uc.pa.gov/fraud.
Local DOH data updates reported between Wednesday and Thursday include:
Fayette County: 363 cases (+11); 8,488 negative tests; four deaths (no change)
Greene County: 105 cases (+2); 2,643 negative tests; no deaths
Washington County: 723 cases (+13); 14,472 negative tests; 11 deaths (+1)
Westmoreland County: 1,382 cases (+31); 28,401 negative tests; 45 deaths (+1)
Allegheny County: 7,850 cases (+132); 106,639 negative tests; 227 deaths (no change)
Pennsylvania: 111,078 cases (+860); 1,088,859 negative tests; 7,176 deaths (+14)
Long-term care living facilities
Fayette County: six facilities; 10 cases in residents; nine in employees; one death
Greene County: one facility; two cases in residents; one in employees; no deaths
Washington County: eight facilities; 23 cases in residents; eight in employees; two deaths
Westmoreland County: 21 facilities; 181 cases in residents; 50 in employees; 31 deaths
Allegheny County: 81 facilities; 795 cases in residents; 264 in employees; 172 deaths
Pennsylvania: 846 facilities; 19,366 cases in residents; 3,918 in employees; 4,887 deaths
For additional information, visit health.pa.gov.
To report violations related to mask-wearing or the July 15 targeted mitigation order, contact state or local police.