The Idaho Department of Labor takes fraud seriously. We are using several methods to monitor and protect the unemployment insurance trust fund while ensuring those who are entitled to benefits receive them.
In a recent commentary article in the Idaho Business Review, Haywood Talcove CEO of LexisNexis Risk Solutions government division took issue with the fact that the Department has contracted with a competitor of his company for an identity verification solution. We believe the identity verification solution we have been using since December — ID.me — is working well.
In the digital age, having to verify your identity is not unusual; it happens when you open a credit card or apply for a mortgage online.
Traditional identity proofing approaches rely on verifying people based on their digital data footprint. As Talcove points out, it uses data gathered from people’s digital and physical footprints, combined with device assessments, to digitally verify identity.
Record checking digital footprints along with question- and answer-based approaches fail many users – especially young adults, along with recent immigrants and lower-income families who have limited information in public records.
Using demographic data alone to verify identity also carries a high risk as the Social Security numbers and personal details (including email addresses, passwords and phone numbers) of hundreds of millions of Americans are available for sale on the dark web.
In addition, at no point does Talcove say the ID.me process does not work or does not help prevent fraud; he simply says that it creates friction.
Before the Department contracted with ID.me in December for online identity verification, more than half of initial claims filed were fraudulent. While identity verification is an additional step when claimants file an initial claim, now that this is fully integrated into the process, it should eliminate this type of fraudulent claim.
Close to 90% of the people asked to verify their identity through ID.me complete the process with no additional help. For those who do have trouble, reaching a trusted ID.me referee can take time, but ID.me is continuing to add staff — almost 40-50 employees a week — to alleviate that delay.
ID.me isn’t the only tool we use to prevent fraud. We have security checks in place and are actively involved in a nationwide collaborative program called the Integrity Data Hub to detect and prevent fraud.
CARES Act benefit programs are funded by taxpayer dollars, so when a criminal receives stolen benefits, we all pay. We believe we have the right resources in play as we tackle this issue.
Jani Revier is director of the Idaho Department of Labor.