April 23, 2021, Dallas, TX – All businesses should be keenly aware of unemployment fraud because not even a BBB investigator is considered off-limits. Our very own investigators’ information was used in an attempt to perpetrate a fraudulent unemployment claim. Erica Mendoza, BBB Investigations Manager, received a mailing; outlining her eligibility to receive unemployment benefits, it listed BBB as her employer, outlined her weekly benefit amount, and included options on how she wanted to receive the payments.
At the same time our local BBB office also received a notice of application for unemployment benefits. The Texas Workforce Commission is required by law to send this notice to employers when an employee files for unemployment. The letter does not require the employer to respond but gives them the opportunity to appeal the claim. Most notices such as these go un-responded, however, if a business discovers a fraudulent attempt it is important that it be reported to the Texas Workforce Commission.
BBB has been receiving reports as early as April 2020 from businesses confused about the Texas Workforce Commission correspondence regarding an unemployment claim referencing an employee that is still working for them. The fraudsters are banking on claims to slip through undetected with this process.
In a Scam Tracker report to BBB, one employee stated, “My employer reported to me that they had received notification that I had applied for unemployment. I have not been unemployed and have never filed for unemployment.”
Anyone Can Be A Victim Of Unemployment Fraud
“This goes to show that anyone can be a victim of identity theft when someone that is extremely cautious in protecting her information is victimized. We cannot completely prevent our information from being compromised but instead take the proper steps to secure it when this happens,” said Monica Horton, BBB of North Central Texas.
For Texas employers who have information that an unemployment claim was filed fraudulently using a stolen identity, report it to the Texas Workforce Commission. Make sure your business has appropriate verification practices in place. And always confirm that any unemployment claims are coming from employees that were previously employed by your business and qualify for unemployment.
Texas employees that become aware that an unemployment claim was filed using your information, should also fill out a report with the Texas Workforce Commission. Victims should take the proper steps to prevent future identity theft by checking your credit report and placing a freeze on your social security number online at www.annualcreditreport.com administered by the FTC.
Editors Note: This happened to us at Focus Daily News as well, which we reported on April 16 as follows: https://www.focusdailynews.com/desoto-police-advise-victims-of-unemployment-fraud-on-how-to-document-incident/