Unemployment fraud is surging in many forms, as reported by bankers statewide. It is critical each bank know of and respond to each version as it hits.
Toward that end, OBA will try to keep you apprised as we learn of new issues as each is time sensitive. The first such scenario defines an issue facing the State of Washington, where funds are deposited in Oklahoma banks. The second are the rampant Oklahoma Employment Security Commission unemployment fraud claims, with information on a response.
State of Washington Unemployment Fraud in Oklahoma
Numerous Oklahoma financial institutions report large dollar ACH deposits into accounts, from $5,000 to tens of thousands.
The name of the deposit does not match the account holder. The description in the ACH is WA ST EMPLOY SEC – UI BENEFIT. Once the funds are deposited, the account holder is instructed to wire or purchase money orders to send to another individual in another state.
When questioned, the account holders first say the ACH came in their name. When informed it was not, the answer changes to “family” or ‘for a “family member, an old friend.” Pressed further, the story falls apart.
Action steps include:
• Watch for wires not in account holder’s name.
• If there is a name mismatch, you can return the funds.
• Search for keywords Washington, WA ST EMPLOY SEC, and UI BENEFIT.
If you find you had this fact pattern and the money has already been disbursed, you can consider sending a letter noting that person is not entitled to the funds, they were obtained through fraud and ask they voluntarily return the money. Understand they may be a witting or unwitting money mule and may have already wired the funds as noted above.
Oklahoma Employment Security Commission frauds
The OBA continues to receive reports from bankers about fraudulent unemployment claims against the bank for persons who have never worked there.
We are also seeing numerous reports of bank employees and customers who have had claims filed using their personal information. The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission has offered further guidance on reporting and resolving these claims.
To Report a Fraudulent Claim on Your Bank
Step 1: Email the OESC at firstname.lastname@example.org and the OESC supervisor at email@example.com. Scan and include all documentation, including the claim form you received. You will receive an auto-reply email but may not receive a callback.
Step 2: You must file the protest within 10 days of the date of mailing on claims you received. In that filing, you give the reason for that protest.
Step 3: File a second report with the Oklahoma attorney general. Information can be found at http://www.oag.ok.gov/attorney-general-hunter-launches-new-effort-to-assist-victims-of-unemployment-fraud. At the bottom of that page, you will see “to access the form, click here,” where you will access the form. Individuals can also use this form as noted below.
To Report a Fraudulent Claim as an Individual (for customers or employees with claims filed in their names)
Step 1: Email the OESC at firstname.lastname@example.org and also the OESC supervisor at email@example.com. Include your name, the claim number (if it appeared on the information you received) and your email address. Scan and attach any documentation. OESC will immediately put a STOP on any reported claim.
Step 2: If you have received any Way2Go cards from the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, notify your bank that you received them. After notifying OESC and your company’s (or bank’s if bank employee) HR, it’s important to destroy the cards.
Step 3: Check with your financial institution and credit card companies to ensure your personal information has not been compromised further. You may also obtain a free copy of your credit report from https://www.ftc.gov/faq/consumer-protection/get-my-free-credit-report.
Step 4: Consider filing a credit freeze or extended fraud alert because you are a victim of ID theft. Details on both, as well as how to file, can be found at www.consumer.ftc.gov.
Step 5: The Oklahoma attorney general has also created a form he encourages you to complete to report unemployment fraud. Information can be found at http://www.oag.ok.gov/attorney-general-hunter-launches-new-effort-to-assist-victims-of-unemployment-fraud. At the bottom of that page you will see “to access the form, click here,” where you will access the form.
The OBA has received notice on about a dozen claims by persons who have never worked for us. Our CFO, Lea Ann Jackson, has filed OESC and AG reports on each case and is a great resource if you have questions regarding filing. The FBI and OSBI have opened cases on these issues for our bankers and it is clear the attorney general’s office will also be an important partner ongoing.
As always, if you have any questions about this or any fraud issues, contact Elaine Dodd at firstname.lastname@example.org.