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programs, and the real and growing problem of identity theft are challenges this program did not face ten years ago.  This is coupled with a growing awareness that unemployment insurance fraud is a significant issue.  In Nevada, any fraud is too much fraud.  Allowing claimants to file via telephone and Internet have restricted our ability to do a visual assessment of the person filing the claim.  As a result, we have had to turn to technology-based solutions to ensure the person making the claim is who they claim to be.  Through the use of wage records and cross matches with records from the Department of Motor Vehicles, we are able to positively identify a high percentage of people filing claims.  For people who are not positively identified through this stringent pre-screening, we have developed an Affidavit of Identity program to help ensure that checks are being issued to the proper party and not ending up in the hands of criminals.  Computer technology has advanced to the point where it is relatively easy to create high quality forgeries of unemployment insurance checks.  To combat this risk, we have added watermarks and magnetic ink to our checks.  We are also reviewing options such as direct deposit and debit cards, which will give us alternatives that cannot readily by replaced by a scanner, computer and color laser printer.  Identify theft is as large a problem for the unemployment insurance program as it is for the public at large.  Persons with access to personally identifying information can cause great harm to these systems, as evidenced by a case in the State of California where a ring of people were able to obtain nearly 17 million in fraudulently obtained benefits before they were discovered and apprehended.  Processes such as the Department of Motor Vehicles cross match and the Affidavit of Identity program help us to mitigate this risk.  Yet we see daily examples of identity theft being perpetrated, frequently using the employers of the State of Nevada as the avenue of the theft.  It is relatively easy to obtain a good reproduction of a social security card and a driver’s license.  All you need are the right connections and the cash.  Once you have these documents, you can go to work anywhere using that fictitious social security number as you passport to employment.  Employers may also unwittingly contribute to identity theft by failing to obtain valid identification as required from the employee at the time they’re hired.  To help resolve this issue and to engage in fraud prevention, we are starting an initiative to conduct outreach meetings with Nevada employers and labor organizations.  The integrity program staff will contact larger employers, hiring hall unions and other employers to ask for their assistance and commitment to preventing identity theft and to curb unemployment insurance fraud.  We will ask these employers and these labor unions to display posters advising of the requirements of an individual to stop filing claims for benefits when these individuals return to full-time work.  We’ll ask their assistance in verifying the individual’s identification at the time of employment and to report newly hired employees through the Nevada Directory of New Hire, a process which is as simple as sending us a copy of the W-4 form completed by the employee at the time they are hired.  We will ask them to fully participate in the processes that are designed to help us ensure proper and accurate payment of benefits, such as responding to Notices of Claim Filing, participating in the adjudication and appeal processes, responding to requests for verification of data as mandated

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