Oklahoma has seen an unprecedented increase in the number of unemployment claims, officials said. Unfortunately, some of the more than 51,000 claims filed since March have proven to be fraudulent.
Cindy Clampet, Oklahoma State University Extension assistant resource management specialist, said reports from the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) indicate at least 3,800 fraudulent claims have been filed since mid-March this year.
“Scammers often are prevalent during times like this, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception,” Clampet said.
Businesses and workers who have not filed for unemployment are receiving the troubling letters from the OESC at their homes or through human resources offices at work. The letters contain copies of unemployment claims made by workers who still have jobs or by someone who has never worked at that business.
Clampet said such claims can hurt the employment record of the employee, as well as the business itself.
For those who find themselves a victim of a fraudulent unemployment claim, Clampet suggests the following steps:
- Contact the personnel department at the place of employment so they can file a fraud claim.
- Call the OESC fraud department at 405-557-7157 or email at email@example.com.
- File a fraud report with the local police department.
- Contact major credit bureaus, including Experian, TransUnion and Equifax, since the breach involves social security numbers, birth dates and other personal information.
- Contact your banking institution to make them aware of the situation.
Clampet said a person’s place of employment may have additional steps to take.
“Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter encourages these fraud victims to email his office and fill out a claim form to help his office investigate these claims,” she said. “Unfortunately, there always will be people who are looking to take advantage of the system regardless of the effects on others.”
More COVID-19 information is available online from OSU Extension.