HAGATNA, Guam — The amount of fraudulent unemployment claims in Guam has more than doubled over the last few weeks, the Pacific Daily Times reported Thursday.
The fraud has caused delays in the issuance of legitimate unemployment claims. Some people have had to wait more than a week after they were supposed to be paid.
“Criminals are getting more sophisticated,” said David Dell’Isola, the director of the Guam Department of Labor. “Initially, it was pretty easy to spot fraudulent claims. Now the claims are getting harder to pick out, and I’ve had to take my team members away from their regular tasks to focus on disqualifying fraudulent claims.”
The Guam Department of Labor has been working with the FBI, its software vendor and the Office of Inspector General with the U.S. Department of Labor in an attempt to stop the fraud.
Criminals use phishing scams and buy personal identify online to submit the fake unemployment claims, officials said.
Many victims were not aware their identities were stolen until they tried to file claims and saw their Social Security number was already in use, Guam’s labor department said.
Other people whose identities were used did not know about the fraud until they were contacted by the Department of Labor to verify unemployment information.