Kansas Department of Labor paid out $290M in fraudulent unemployment claims in 2020

Posted at 5:07 PM, Feb 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-23 18:07:22-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas Department of Labor paid out more than $290 million in fraudulent unemployment claim payments in 2020, the state revealed Tuesday.

From Jan. 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020, more than $140 million in state-level fraudulent claims and more than $150 million in fraudulent claims to federal programs was distributed by KDOL.

The department has turned over more than 50,000 cases to federal investigators.

Since the beginning of 2020, the state said KDOL’s fraud team “work tirelessly” to stop 500,000 fraudulent claims related to identity theft and other unemployment fraud.

In early February this year, the department deployed new security software to combat fraudulent claims.

The install took the system offline for a few days, but has since stopped more than 4.8 million bot attacks and fraudulent login attempts.

The fraud team, as a result, has been able to focus on more sophisticated efforts such as criminal rings and identity theft reported by residents and businesses, according to KDOL.

For comparison, the state offered numbers from other states that have publicly shared the amount of fraudulent payments paid out.

California lost $11.4 billion to fraudsters, Washington $600 million and Ohio $330 million.

Kansas’ antiquated system has arguably made it a target for fraudsters.

The state announced Monday it is beginning the process of purchasing a new unemployment system.