OSBI Says Employment Claim Fraud Is Still Happening

Tuesday, May 12th 2020, 9:12 pm
By: Amelia Mugavero

Vanessa Hicks never thought she would be a victim of fraud until she received a letter on Mother's Day. 

"I opened it up and saw that someone filed for unemployment under my maiden name," Hicks said. 

Hicks said the letter was even sent an old address, with her social security number listed as well. 

"I'm working I have a great job and I never thought I would be a victim of basically identity theft," said Hicks. 

OSBI Spokesperson Brook Arbeitman said letters like the one Hicks received are being reported across the state and the country.

"What makes this unique is the magnitude of it, and we are really putting analysts and agents who are trying to connect the dots, analysts do that and locate URLS and web addresses," said Arbeitman. 

Arbeitman says the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission will group the fraudulent claims together and then the OSBI will try to track down the culprits.

"Then if we are able to track down information that these crimes are originating from Oklahomans, then an agent will show up and start asking questions," Hicks said. 

The OSBI said if you file a claim, that does not mean an agent will show up at your door. Arbeitman said if the fraud is tracked outside of the state -- the OSBI will hand the case off to that state," said Hicks. 

"Scammers can be out of state targeting Oklahomans, and it could be Oklahomans targeting Oklahomans, so that is what we trying to get to the bottom of," Arbeitman said. 

Hicks told News On 6 she's had difficulty reporting her claim through the OESC website and hopes the state can improve that system and put a stop to the fraud.

"It should have been expected and anticipated, but at the same time, no one could anticipate this," Hicks said. 

The attorney general's office has a link to directly report unemployment fraud claims. You can find that link here.