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Scammers Pocket AZ Unemployment Insurance Payments

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Scammers pocketed nearly 30% of the $16 billion in unemployment insurance payments sent out by Arizona since the coronavirus pandemic began. The director of the state agency overseeing the program said Thursday most of the fraud happened in the first several months of the pandemic. Federally funded emergency unemployment insurance programs designed to help “gig workers” - like Uber drivers - were the main target. Department of Economic Security Director Michael Wisehart says an estimated $4.4 billion was lost to identity thieves. Other states also were hard hit by scammers. The U.S. Department of Labor in June estimated that more than $87 billion will have been stolen nationally by early September.