Department of Labor (CTNewsJunkie file photo)

Some Connecticut employers are flagging what they believe is the growing problem of unemployment fraud in the state. 

Employers are receiving an increase in unemployment claims for employees who still work for the company or who never worked for the company. The Department of Labor said it’s not a problem with their system, but simply an increase in fraud attempts across the system. 

The scam has been ongoing for weeks. People try to file for unemployment benefits they are not owed and the Department of Labor sends a notice to make sure they are legitimate claims. 

Juliet Manalan, a spokeswoman for the department, said employers should always respond to the claims they receive. 

“Most of the imposter applications that the agency receives are identity theft,” Manalan said. “If someone’s identity is stolen, the criminal can use it to do any number of things including open bank accounts, establish lines of credit, and claim unemployment benefits. If someone thinks their identity has been stolen, they should report it to us as well as law enforcement.”

Manalan stressed it’s not a problem with the new ReEmployCT program. She says labor agenices across the U.S. are seeing an uptick in fraudulent claims.

The Connecticut Business and Industry Association, the state’s largest business lobby, has been warning its members about the fraud attempts. 

They say employers are concerned because the claims contain important identifying information about their employees. 

Eric Gjede, vice president of government affairs for CBIA, said employers are telling them that the information they are receiving include Social Security numbers and up-to-date wage information and is extremely accurate. 

“It’s increasingly frustrating for employers who continue to see claims being made,” Gjede said. “They’re growing frustrated because they’re not getting additional response or guidance from the department.” 

One New Haven County manufacturer said the company received at least two fraudulent claims. Both claims appeared to have been filed by current employees. 

The employees said they had given that information to DOL when they filed claims for unemployment previously, however they had not claimed unemployment in July. 

“I’m starting to have a tougher time believing this is a case of identity theft,” Gjede said. 

He said the department needs to take these claims more seriously. 

Manalan pushed back against the speculation.

“CBIA’s implication that there is a fraud problem with ReEmployCT is demonstrably false,” Manalan said. “CTDOL has reached out to assist CBIA on a number of occasions—to help them understand ReEmployCT and how the notifications protect employers. Despite our many attempts to help, CBIA has shown a deep commitment to alarming employers and providing a platform for wild and unmoderated speculation about ReEmployCT.”