BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–Erie County District Attorney John Flynn says he’s going after thousands of cases of unemployment fraud after becoming a victim.

On Monday, Flynn learned someone had filed for a week’s worth of unemployment using his likeness, including at least a portion of his social security number. The fraudster told the state labor department they were an employee of Erie County, although Flynn doesn’t think they claimed they were the county’s top prosecutor.

Still, the fake week of unemployment in December amounts to more than one thousand dollars, making the crime against him a felony. Flynn says the state estimates there are more than 425-thousand instances of unemployment fraud filed during the pandemic, including thousands of cases in Erie County alone. He says the people often hurt the most by these crimes are those who really need it.

“There are thousands of people, millions nationwide, who have lost their jobs during this pandemic. and they need a helping hand. And now, you have people who are taking advantage of the system, who are tainting the entire system.”

If you want to be proactive to protect your identity, you can contact the state department of labor, or log on to the Federal Trade Commission’s website, and register your name.
Then you’ll be notified if someone tries to use your information.