Fraudulent Unemployment Claims on the Rise
Monday, April 19, 2021
Violations & What They Mean
Even as the COVID vaccine becomes more widely available, and states continue to ease restrictions on the public and the workplace, we continue to see an increased amount of cybercrime. The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has reported increased fraud, waste, and program abuse allegations. But what does this mean, and what should we look for?
Fraud, is a willful act or course of deception, or an intentional concealment, omission, or perversion of truth, with the intent to obtain a material benefit or service for that person or another person, for which the person may not be eligible. (1)
In the case of the TWC, this means watching for illegitimate claims filed for unemployment either in your name or the name of another person at your office/workplace/organization. Or, a bad actor portraying a representative of the TWC to have others authorize payments or claims, and more.
Waste, is any practice that a reasonably prudent person would deem careless or that would allow inefficient use of resources, items or services. Waste includes incurring unnecessary costs because of inefficient or ineffective practices, systems, or controls. (1)
For the TWC, this can mean improper use of department equipment, improper procedures, or using systems to either increase payments to an individual, or accept favors.
Abuse, is the intentional, wrongful or improper use or destruction of state resources, or a seriously improper practice that does not involve prosecutable fraud. Abuse may include misapplication or misuse of public resources. (1)
Abuse of TWC programs is any time someone may use or access the programs in a way they were not meant to be used, such as bribing, providing false claims, or initiating payments but fraud is not involved in the process.
What to Do If You Are a Victim
Discovering you are a victim of fraud of one of the above violations can be confusing and stressful, but it is important to remain as calm as possible. Taking the following actions quickly can reduce the potential damage and put a stop to further fraudulent action.
- Contact the Police department in the city in which you reside and get an incident report and number.
- Consult the Federal Trade Commission website. (Checklist of further actions is available on this site.)
- Contact one of the three credit reporting agencies listed below, and:
- Ask that a free fraud alert be placed on your credit report.
- Ask for a free credit report. (You only need to contact one of the agencies, they will contact the other two on your behalf.)
- If needed, ask to have your credit account frozen.
- Equifax (800) 349-9960
- Experian (888) 397-3742
- TransUnion (888) 909-8872
- If bank or credit union account was compromised, contact the fraud department of each institution. Report the identity theft and, if needed, ask them to close or freeze the compromised account. (1)
If you experience, or have been the victim of, unemployment claim fraud and are actively filing for unemployment, the TWC advises visiting ID.me to verify your identity.
If you are not currently filing for unemployment visit the UI Fraud Submission Portal.
Where to Turn for Help
Should you have further questions regarding fraudulent employment claims, visit the TWC website or reach out to your IBTX consultant today.