AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Labor canceled more than 12,000 initial claims and 17,000 weekly certifications that it found to be fraudulent for the week ending May 30, the department said Thursday.
The department has also received about 10,000 reports of potential fraud. It temporarily suspended payments last week due to a surge in fraudulent claims in which criminals used stolen social security numbers and other personal information to file a claim pretending to be a Maine worker.
Workers’ claims that were flagged as suspected fraud showed that payments would be made on the date “09/09/9999.” Some workers were paid last week or earlier this week, but the department said Thursday that people still seeing that date in their portals should email scans or photos of two forms of identification to the department’s secure email address.
Anyone who believes that their information has been used to fraudulently file an unemployment claim can submit a report on the state’s website. Sen. Shenna Bellows, D-Manchester, and Kirsten Figueroa, commissioner of the state’s budget department, were among the people who found out last week that fraudulent claims were filed in their names.
While the labor department has cracked down on fraudulent claims — which have also been a problem in other states — some Maine workers with legitimate claims are still waiting for benefits, though the state has not released data that would indicate how many.
Lawmakers, who have asked the state to release data on the number of individuals who filed claims in March and April but have yet to receive benefits, clashed with Gov. Janet Mills over the issue Thursday after the governor declined to send Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman to a legislative hearing on unemployment.