Lawmakers outraged by COVID scams

The Kansas Department of Labor assured officials that new security protocols blocked more than 649,000 attempts to scam the unemployment system. GOP lawmakers weren't satisfied and are increasingly focused on fraudulent claims.


State News

February 4, 2021 - 9:42 AM

Rep. Sean Tarwater, a Republican from Stilwell, evoked a reaction from Gov. Laura Kelly by asserting the Kansas Department of Labor lacked transparency during the coronavirus-driven surge in jobless claims since March. Photo by (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Assurances from labor officials that new security protocols are blocking thousands of fraudulent attempts every hour to access Kansas’ unemployment benefits system did little Wednesday to dispel the concerns of Republican lawmakers who fear the state is losing millions of dollars to COVID-19 pandemic scammers.

The state Department of Labor reported that it blocked more than 649,000 attempts from internet bots or human scammers to log into its unemployment system within 34 hours after a shutdown of the system ended Tuesday morning. The department shut down the system Saturday afternoon to add new security protocols after a flood of fraudulent claims for benefits.

Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature have criticized Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and her administration for months over problems at the Department of Labor in providing benefits to workers who’ve lost their jobs in the pandemic. She and department officials have blamed the struggles on a decades-old computer system.

January 28, 2022
March 5, 2021
March 1, 2021
February 23, 2021