Florida: Fraud contributed to surge in jobless aid claims

Florida

Envelopes from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Reemployment Assistance Program are shown, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Surfside, Fla. The number of a Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week to 778,000, evidence that the U.S. economy and job market remain under strain as coronavirus cases surge and colder weather heighten the risks. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

MIAMI (AP) — The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has deployed fraud-detection software on its mobile app.

It’s in response to fraudulent filings that likely contributed to a recent surge in new unemployment assistance applications.

Agency spokeswoman Emilie Oglesby told the Miami Herald the state is investigating the extent of the problem. She couldn’t say how many fraudulent claims may have been processed and paid.

Each week the department reports its estimate of initial applications to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Florida’s totals have climbed from fewer than 27,000 to more than 71,000 in the last three weeks.

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