According to a press release issued by the Maryland Department of Labor, states have seen a “significant spike” in fraudulent unemployment activity since passage of the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act. Part of the stimulus package signed into law by President Trump on December 27, 2020, the Act extends pandemic unemployment relief measures through March 14, 2021, with certain modifications. Key provisions include expansion of a $300 supplement for eligible claimants.
According to the news bulletin, of the 243,186 new claims filed with the Maryland DOL since the start of 2021, 64% have been flagged as potentially fraudulent. DOL is urging businesses to review fourth quarter benefit charge statements for accuracy, due to the increase in fraudulent claims. Any employer who discovers fraudulent claim activity on their account should immediately file a benefit charge protest through the State BEACON portal so that charges may be investigated, and removed if deemed fraudulent. According to the release, “employers will not be charged for any fraudulent benefits associated with their account.”
If the claim involves an active employee, an employer should of course conduct its own investigation to determine what, if any, employment action is warranted.