Gizmodo: 25 States Are Forcing Face Recognition on People Filing for Unemployment

Gizmodo: 25 States Are Forcing Face Recognition on People Filing for Unemployment. “We acclimatize to dangerous tech creep in a series of f*ck-it moments until the point at which we realize a foreseeably bad network is so pervasive, we reluctantly adopt it and move on. There was a time when social media, Amazon shopping, and home surveillance seemed optional—until they weren’t. Now in many states, you’ll have to surrender a faceprint to a private face recognition program in order to access basic government services like unemployment insurance. We’ve been here before.” Asterisk by me because I like these newsletters having some chance of getting through corporate filters.

Department of Labor: US Department Of Labor Launches Website For Victims Of Unemployment Fraud

Department of Labor: US Department Of Labor Launches Website For Victims Of Unemployment Fraud . “The new website at http://www.dol.gov/fraud provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources. Site developers recruited actual victims of unemployment benefit theft to test the site and confirm its instructions were clear and easy-to-understand.”

Route Fifty: U.S. Unemployment Claims Fall to Under 700,000, Lowest Since Pandemic

Route Fifty: U.S. Unemployment Claims Fall to Under 700,000, Lowest Since Pandemic. “Claims fell to 684,000 for the week ending March 20, a drop of 97,000 from the previous week and the first time that claims have dipped below 700,000 since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic last year. Applications had never totaled above 700,000 before then, according to federal data. The previous record was 695,000, in October 1982.”

CNN: The ‘benefit year end’: A tough Covid anniversary for the unemployed

CNN: The ‘benefit year end’: A tough Covid anniversary for the unemployed. “Unhappy anniversary, jobless Americans. This week marks a year since the coronavirus pandemic began upending the US economy, costing millions of people their jobs and forcing them onto unemployment benefits. Those who are still out of work could soon start getting notices from their state unemployment agencies advising them that they are approaching their benefit year end date — which happens 52 weeks after an initial claim is filed.”

Washington Post: A Trader Joe’s employee called for stronger coronavirus measures. The company fired him.

Washington Post: A Trader Joe’s employee called for stronger coronavirus measures. The company fired him.. “In a letter citing a medical journal and experts who study respiratory transmission of the coronavirus, Ben Bonnema called on the grocery chain’s head, Dan Bane, to adopt more stringent safety protocols. Among his requests: improving filtration, requiring masks without exception and adopting a ‘three-strikes’ policy for removing uncooperative customers from stores. ‘We put our lives on the line everyday by showing up to work,’ wrote Bonnema, who was a crew member at a New York location. ‘Please, show up for us by adopting these policies.’ The company responded soon after, he says. It fired him.”

‘It just sucks’: America’s jobless owe thousands of dollars in taxes on their unemployment (Washington Post)

Washington Post: ‘It just sucks’: America’s jobless owe thousands of dollars in taxes on their unemployment. “For tax purposes, weekly unemployment payments count as income just like wages from a job. But few people realize the money they get from the government is actually taxable. Fewer than 40 percent of the 40 million unemployed workers in 2020 had taxes withheld from their payments, according to the Century Foundation, a left-leaning think tank.”

Krebs on Security: How $100M in Jobless Claims Went to Inmates

Krebs on Security: How $100M in Jobless Claims Went to Inmates. “The U.S. Labor Department’s inspector general said this week that roughly $100 million in fraudulent unemployment insurance claims were paid in 2020 to criminals who are already in jail. That’s a tiny share of the estimated tens of billions of dollars in jobless benefits states have given to identity thieves in the past year. To help reverse that trend, many states are now turning to a little-known private company called ID.me. This post examines some of what that company is seeing in its efforts to stymie unemployment fraud.”

CNN: One year into the pandemic, America is still down nearly 10 million jobs

CNN: One year into the pandemic, America is still down nearly 10 million jobs. “The American job market is nowhere near fixed. Nearly one year into the pandemic, the nation is still down nearly 10 million jobs. Another 745,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits on a seasonally adjusted basis last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. It was a slightly smaller number of claims than economists had expected, but up from the prior week.”

AP: US jobless claims jump to 861,000 as layoffs stay high

AP: US jobless claims jump to 861,000 as layoffs stay high. “Applications from laid-off workers rose 13,000 from the previous week, which was revised sharply higher, the Labor Department said Thursday. Before the virus erupted in the United States last March, weekly applications for unemployment benefits had never topped 700,000, even during the Great Recession of 2008-2009.”

The Century Foundation: Delay in Extending Unemployment Aid Has Shortchanged Workers $17 Billion in January

The Century Foundation: Delay in Extending Unemployment Aid Has Shortchanged Workers $17 Billion in January. “The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 enhanced unemployment benefits for 18.6 million Americans relying on jobless pay during the pandemic. The act extended FPUC (a $300-per-claimant additional benefit to all recipients), PEUC (extended benefits for the long-term unemployed), and PUA (benefits for low-wage and self-employed workers not eligible for regular unemployment) through March 2020. Unfortunately, payment of these benefits rolled out slowly in January 2021 as the late enactment of the legislation complicated state implementation.”

USA Today: How scammers siphoned $36B in fraudulent unemployment payments from US

USA Today: How scammers siphoned $36B in fraudulent unemployment payments from US. “In a Zoom session with the camera turned off, Mayowa describes how he scoops up U.S. unemployment benefits fattened by COVID-19 relief, an international imposter attack that has contributed to at least $36 billion being siphoned away from out-of-work Americans. Mayowa is an engineering student in Nigeria who estimates he’s made about $50,000 since the pandemic began. After compiling a list of real people, he turns to databases of hacked information that charge $2 in cryptocurrency to link that name to a date of birth and Social Security number.”