BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Maryland Department of Labor announced Monday that the department has detected 508,000 fraudulent new unemployment insurance claims since the beginning of May.

“With fraudulent activity rampant in unemployment insurance programs across the country, Maryland has consistently adapted and added new security measures to prevent, detect, and report fraud,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “In fact, an astonishing 1.3 million claims flagged by the state have been confirmed as fraudulent since the beginning of the pandemic, with over 508,000 being detected in the last month and a half alone.”

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Maryland has seen a record number of unemployment insurance claims and federal benefits due to COVID-19, which means fraudsters are taking advantage.

“As the economy recovers and states across the country continue to opt out of the federal benefits programs, bad actors are becoming more brazen and aggressive in their attempts to exploit unemployment insurance programs than ever before,” said Labor Secretary Tiffany P. Robinson. “I strongly encourage all Marylanders to remain especially vigilant in the coming weeks to protect themselves against scams and identity theft.”

LexisNexis, the vendor to provide identity verification and fraud detection, determined that 508,079 potentially fraudulent claims were filed since the week ending on May 8.

To date a total of 1,344,599 claims flagged were confirmed as fraudulent. Of the 339,083 out-of-state claims flagged as potentially fraudulent, 317,545 have either not uploaded the verification documentation requested or it was reviewed and denied.

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Of the 1,118,829 in-state claims that have been identified as potentially fraudulent, 1,027,054 (91.80%) have either not uploaded the verification documentation requested or their documentation has been reviewed and denied.

While, the Department of Labor is investigating the fraud, the weekly unemployment claim numbers may need to be adjusted.

If you believe that your information has been used to fraudulently file an unemployment insurance claim, please contact the Division of Unemployment Insurance’s Benefit Payment Control Unit by completing a “Request for Investigation of Unemployment Insurance Fraud” form and emailing it to ui.fraud@maryland.gov.

If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft, please read the Maryland State Police’s (MSP) Identity Theft Protection Quick Guide to find additional resources and learn more about the next steps you should take to protect your identity. For additional information about avoiding unemployment insurance scams, including those on social media, visit MSP’s press release.

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If an employer believes a fraudulent claim has been charged to their account, they should immediately file a benefit charge protest through their BEACON employer portal. The department will investigate their protest and will remove charges that are deemed fraudulent. For additional assistance, employers can contact the Employer Call Center by calling 410-949-0033. For more information, visit MDunemployment.com.

CBS Baltimore Staff