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Oklahomans are filing for unemployment benefits at a record-setting pace. Unfortunately, scammers are trying to profit from this situation.

Unemployment scams are on the rise

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Oklahoma has seen an unprecedented increase in the number of unemployment claims, officials said. Unfortunately, some of those 51,124 claims have proven to be fraudulent.

The Oklahoma Employment Securities Commission (OESC) has reported at least 3,800 fraudulent claims have been filed since mid-March, said Cindy Clampet, Oklahoma State University Extension assistant resource management specialist.

“Scammers often are prevalent during times like this, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception,” she said.

Some businesses and workers who have not filed for unemployment have received letters from 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 be damaging to workers and businesses. 

For those who find themselves a victim of a fraudulent unemployment claim, Clampet suggests the following steps:

  1. Contact the personnel department at the place of employment so they can file a fraud claim.
  2. Call the OCES fraud department at 405-557-7157 or fraud@oesc.state.ok.us.
  3. File a fraud report with the local police department.
  4. Contact major credit bureaus, including Experian, TransUnion and Equifax, since the breach involves social security numbers, birth dates and other personal information.
  5. Contact their banking institution to inform them 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.

MEDIA CONTACT: Trisha Gedon | Agricultural Communications Services | 405-744-3625 | trisha.gedon@okstate.edu

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