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TransUnion Wins Contract to Help States Fight UI Fraud

The consumer credit reporting agency has won federal approval to sell its ID verification and anti-fraud technology to state unemployment agencies fighting the high level of fraud during the pandemic.

A black sign that reads “unemployment insurance claims office” in white lettering.
Consumer credit reporting agency TransUnion wants to expand into the state unemployment business — specifically, to help government officials fight back against fraud.

TransUnion announced last week that it won a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) from the U.S. Department of Labor, necessary for the firm to sell its identity verification and fraud detection technology to state unemployment agencies.

“The purpose of the BPA is to help the state unemployment insurance programs modernize their current UI systems by strengthening their up-front vetting (identity verification) of UI applications,” Jonathan McDonald, executive vice president and head of TransUnion’s public-sector business, told Government Technology via email. “Additionally, the BPA provides a simplified and consistent acquisition process of all the states and U.S. territories. BPA contract holders are able to bid on state UI enhancement opportunities that are made available under the BPA.”

In a news release, TransUnion said it intends to supplement those agencies’ unemployment insurance systems with its TransUnion TruValidate software suite, which combines personal and digital data to help officials detect fraud attempts. The company also said it expects to help state unemployment agencies clear backlogs of claims and perform other tasks, especially as more unemployment applicants and recipients rely on digital and mobile tools.

“Due to the pandemic, there has been an explosion of fraud in the state-run unemployment insurance programs,” McDonald said. “The current administration is focused on addressing these challenges by implementing steps to reduce UI fraud, thereby avoiding millions of dollars in improper payments.”

He said that TransUnion has “several active procurement exercises that are ongoing” as the company seeks to expand its footprint in the state unemployment technology sector.

According to data provided by TransUnion, younger people have reported higher incidents of unemployment scams than have older people — more specifically, 15 percent of Gen Z and 12 percent of millennials. The U.S. Department of Labor said that as of the end of January, some 6.5 million people in the U.S. were unemployed.
Thad Rueter writes about the business of government technology. He covered local and state governments for newspapers in the Chicago area and Florida, as well as e-commerce, digital payments and related topics for various publications. He lives in Wisconsin.