Aura, a leading provider of digital security solutions for consumers, and Thomas & Company, the nation’s largest privately held unemployment cost management provider, today announced that they have joined efforts to provide companies and their employees with a first-of-its-kind alert system to quickly detect, notify and resolve unemployment fraud.
This innovative solution will proactively monitor and alert employers and individuals to new unemployment claims, providing an opportunity to report fraudulent claims and prevent improper payment of benefits, as well as other potential harm resulting from identity theft.
Since the start of the pandemic, criminals have exploited record unemployment rates by using individuals’ stolen personally identifiable information to file fraudulent unemployment claims, and the problem is far from over.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, in the first quarter of 2021, identity theft grew more than 130 percent over the prior year driven by a dramatic increase in government benefits fraud, including unemployment fraud, which grew nearly 4,000 percent. To date, unemployment fraud has cost the U.S. more than $89 billion in improper payments, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
“The exponential growth of fraudulent unemployment claims is exacerbating the stress and financial burden that identity theft has on individuals,” said Gerry Baldwin, general manager, employee benefits, Aura. “By protecting individuals from experiencing identity theft—the root cause of this fraud— Aura’s alert system will reduce employees’ risk of financial impact and, through this joint effort, will help employers and employees save time and expenses of fraudulent unemployment claims.”
With Aura Identity Guard integrated into SHIELD, Thomas & Company’s Unemployment Cost Management Platform, individual employees will be alerted in near real-time when their social security number is used to file an unemployment claim.
Upon receipt of the alert, the employee can verify whether they initiated the claim or flag the claim if it is fraudulent, empowering Thomas & Company to notify the state workforce agency and prevent improper payments from being disbursed. Further, a dedicated case manager will partner with each employee to ensure resolution of fraudulent claims and relieve employers of this administrative burden.
“We’ve seen first-hand the significant impact unemployment fraud has had on our clients and their employees,” said Jim Thomas, CEO, Thomas & Company. “Teaming with Aura will enable us to continue our decades-long commitment to protecting employee data and reducing administrative burden for employers, while increasing barriers to fraud and assisting state workforce agencies in their own efforts to reduce fraudulent unemployment benefit payments.”