PHOENIX (3 On Your Side) - Arizonans with legitimate unemployment claims may have had their payments stopped this month because their cases were incorrectly flagged as fraud, 3 On Your Side has learned.
Brett Bezio, a spokesperson for the Department of Economic Security (DES) said the agency recently updated its fraud detection system in the state's unemployment insurance program.
"As part of our ongoing effort to prevent Unemployment Insurance (UI) fraud, DES implemented two new fraud detection measures within the regular UI Program during the week ending January 16, 2021," Bezio wrote in an email to 3 On Your Side. "These indicators detect anomalies in the use of residential mailing addresses as well as email addresses."
"We will continue to identify suspicious activity among claims while working diligently to ensure eligible claimants continue to receive critical assistance," he added.
DES did not say how many accounts were impacted when the new fraud indicators were implemented. Customers who believe they were impacted in error can request a review of their case.
It’s the latest in string of issues impacting Arizonans forced to navigate the unemployment system. As 3 On Your Side has reported, 11,000 people have not received any of the benefits they are owed, and rampant fraud has blocked some Arizonans from filing legitimate claims.
For PUA, approximately 4,400 claimants have not received any benefits, DES said. Half of those claims are older than 21 days, with the oldest dating back to October 10th.