Eight civilian Philadelphia Police Department employees have been indicted on charges of collecting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance they were not entitled to. Seven of the employees are dispatchers and one is a clerk.
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Cyber criminals have been targeting public benefits across the country throughout the pandemic, harvesting personal information that has been leaked through various data breaches to file new claims on behalf of real people.
“What Pennsylvania is seeing is very common across the country,” said James Lee, COO of the Identity Theft Resource Center.
Pennsylvanians – some of whom were never unemployed – are receiving tax bills due to a widespread fraud problem.
New Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payments paused in Pennsylvania due to uptick in suspicious claims
PUA was created through the federal CARES Act and is easier to apply for than other forms of unemployment benefits. As a result, it has extended benefits to millions of non-traditional workers, such as temps and gig workers, but it’s also been the target of fraud nationwide, with scammers often using the stolen identities of real people to apply.
About 10,000 state prison inmates in Pennsylvania fraudulently applied for unemployment benefits during the coronavirus pandemic, prosecutors said.