Oklahoma Criminals Use Old Data Breaches To File For Unemployment


Friday, June 5th 2020, 5:52 pm
By: Chinh Doan


OKLAHOMA CITY -

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission said criminals are using information from major data breaches years ago to file for unemployment benefits.

The commission said as staff process a record-number of claims, they are also trying to figure out who's real and who's fake.

OESC interim director Shelley Zumwalt told News On 6 new information shows there is a 73 percent drop in the number of potential frauds claims this week, but there's still work to be done.

"So, it's a good indication that we are catching them and stopping them before being processed,” said Zumwalt.

Victims like Vona Cardwell of Claremore still have a lot of questions.

She said she spent hours of dealing with identify theft after finding out someone used her information to file for unemployment benefits.

"It has been a hot mess," said Cardwell.

The Claremore school teacher said her district notified her about the claim and she reported it to the OESC, but she still got a debit card in the mail.

"The good thing is it brought to light that we probably need to look at how easy it is to receive those benefits because, I mean, did they not verify this with my employer before they actually accepted it?" said Cardwell.

Zumwalt said staff members take several steps to verify claims, including checking names, numbers and even calling the person who applied if needed.

She said out of the 500,000 unemployment applications so far, more than 200,000 have been denied for either fraud or lack of qualification.

Zumwalt said the Unemployment Fraud Task Force, made of local and federal agencies, is investigating with OESC.

"We are continuing to always maximize our fraudulent activity scope and make sure we're answering the call to people to make sure their funds are safe," said Zumwalt.

If someone used your information for a fraudulent claim, immediately report it, let your employer know and monitor your financial accounts.

Other resources:

For the form to fill out to get the information to the correct law enforcement agency faster, click here.

Coronavirus fraud resources.