LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - After an increase in fraudulent claims and hacks into accounts, the Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance will shut down their unemployment system until Tuesday, April 13.
The shutdown of the system begins at midnight Friday, and no new claims will be able to be filed for the remainder of the day Thursday.
Their goal is to strengthen security for several days to prevent further issues, Amy Cubbage, Gov. Andy Beshear’s general counsel, said Thursday.
At least 200,000 fraudulent claims were filed and “caught” in February alone, Cubbage confirmed, with more than 300,000 PIN number reset requests being issued.
Cubbage said it was likely hackers overseas got into accounts because PINS to access them were too simple, with about 4,000 users alone using codes like “1-2-3-4,” about 1,500 using the PIN “2-0-2-0,” and about 100 set to “1-1-1-1.”
Claimants can secure their accounts with the following steps:
- Create a new 12 character password with a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.
- Verify email address and receive access code through that email account.
- Use the new 8-digit PIN number mailed in the claim letter.
- The telephone claiming system will require the new 8-digit PIN number.
- Review all information in the account to make sure it is correct.
- If account information is not correct, a claimant can request to receive a paper check instead of direct deposit.
- Only new claimants can enter account information for the time being.
Andrew Hanners has been unemployed for six months and wrestles with the fact he’s unable to provide for his daughters. He told WAVE 3 News his family is two months away from losing their home.
“I’ve been relying on a lot of help, and I definitely would like to get back to where I can take care of things myself,” he said.
The father of two said he has filled out multiple unemployment claims. Since the announcement to shut down the unemployment insurance website for four days, Hanners says the website may as well been shut down the entirety of the pandemic.
“I submit my form on my website, and it seems about once every month or month and a half, it says ‘under investigation’ on the website and it’ll reset,” he said. “It’s like starting all over. It diminishes your hope even more because it’s like starting back at square one.”
Hundreds of people have contacted WAVE 3 News feeling the same way: concerned without getting a resolution.