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Sharing Data Tools Across Government to Find Fraud in Pandemic Relief Funds

The PRAC’s Data Sharing Working Group recently collaborated with subject matter experts from government agencies in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia to share the data tools and techniques they use to help protect pandemic relief dollars. In the United Kingdom, the Centre for Expertise for Counter Fraud found high-risk business loans and shared that data with lenders who are using it to investigate for potential fraud. Australian government agencies are sharing data on stolen identities to protect victims and prevent thieves from stealing funds across multiple programs. The...

Fraud in Unemployment Insurance

Expansion of unemployment programs and the easing of some eligibility requirements under the CARES Act have led to increased fraud – especially identity theft. Some people who would not have normally been eligible to receive regular unemployment benefits became eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In addition, U.S. Department of Labor rules allowed people to receive benefits prior to their filing claims.

Department of Labor Office of Inspector General Deploys a Pandemic Rapid Response Team

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) budget increased significantly in FY2020, due in large part to additional funding for programs created or augmented due to COVID-19. As the office responsible for overseeing these funds – $400 billion for 2020 – the DOL Office of Inspector General (DOL-OIG) created a Pandemic Rapid Response Team to combat fraud, waste, and abuse. What makes this Rapid Response Team unique is its multi-disciplinary approach to oversight. With members from multiple offices across the OIG – Investigations, Audits, Congressional and Public Relations, Legal Services, and Management...

Economic Impact Payments -- Second Round

The Internal Revenue Service has been sending out the second round of stimulus payments that were part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Act of 2021. Some Facts about Stimulus Payments What are the economic impact payments? The stimulus payments are refundable tax credits, which means your next tax bill will be reduced by the amount of the stimulus you receive. For example, if you receive $600 and owe $500 in taxes, the federal government will refund $100 to you. Additionally, you will not pay income taxes on the stimulus, nor will it reduce your tax refund or increase the...

Don't fall for scammers offering access to a COVID -19 vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration has approved coronavirus vaccines for distribution, and scammers around the world are trying to lure you into falling victim to their fraudulent schemes. Protect yourself and your loved ones from these potential scams. Recognize the red flags: You are asked to pay out of pocket to get a vaccine. You are asked to pay to put your name on a waiting list to get early access to the vaccine. You receive texts, emails, or robocalls asking you for your social security number, banking, or credit card numbers to receive a vaccine or sign up to get a vaccine...

Coronavirus Relief Fund Spending

The U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) made $150 billion in Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) available to states, eligible local governments, Tribal governments, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Territories. These prime recipients are spending the money on necessary expenses due to the impact of the pandemic. Follow the money from the prime recipients to their sub-recipients and see a map that shows where the money has been spent. NOTE: We display the data as we receive it, and do not change, alter, or add to it. Here are some important facts: The CRF was established in March 2020...

Self-Certification Procedures May Increase Fraud Risk in Pandemic Response Programs

Two different pandemic response programs used self-certification by applicants as a primary requirement to determine eligibility and experienced increased fraud due to that requirement. The Small Business Administration (SBA) and Department of Labor (DOL) Offices of Inspectors General (OIG) found in recent reports that self-certification is a major fraud risk that cuts across program and agency boundaries. As a result, businesses and individuals may have improperly received pandemic response funds, in effect reducing the total amount of funds available for those businesses and individual...

Highlights of Our Report to Congress

The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) submitted its first-ever Semiannual Report to Congress, covering the period of April 1 to September 30, 2020. The report is required by the CARES Act and summarizes our work since the PRAC was founded in spring 2020. We wrote this report to update Congress on our efforts to promote public transparency and ensure coordinated oversight of $2.6+ trillion in pandemic response spending. The report is a resource for the public, the press, and federal, state, and local policymakers, with information on the PRAC’s structure, our members, our...

Will You Help Make Our Website Better?

The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) recently launched this beta version of and now, we’re looking for your feedback to help us plan next steps. Why did we launch the site as “beta?” A beta launch gives you, the website’s user, the opportunity to help drive our decisions about new functionalities and enhancements. Are you able to find what you’re looking for? Is information missing from the website that you think is important and would help the public? What do you like, and what can we do better? Help us build the future To give us...