Has someone tried to file for unemployment using your name or social security number?
OEA advocates and attorneys have recieved several recent reports of OEA members and Oklahoma school districts receiving notice of applications for unemployment benefits that have been fraudulently submitted to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) using an existing or former employee’s social security number.
If you have been notified by either the OESC or your school district that an application for OESC benefits has been fraudulently made in your name, or using your social security number, you should follow these steps:
- Notify the OESC in writing that an application for unemployment benefits has been made using your name or social security number. Clarify that you did not make the application and that someone else has used your name and social security number to make the application. OESC is requesting that you submit this information via e-mail, so simply go to firstname.lastname@example.org and that site automatically sends you to an e-mail where you can provide the relevant information to OESC.
- Provide a copy of the statement you submitted to OESC to your employer. You can simply cc the designated school personnel in your e-mail to OESC, or you can print a copy of your statement and send to the school district.
- If your school district has notified you of the fraudulent application, you may be asked to complete additional information specific to your school district. School districts are also required to notify OESC of the fraudulent claim and may need additional information from you to do that. You should follow any guidelines that have been established by your school district regarding fraudulent claims for unemployment.
- The Oklahoma Attorney General is also requesting that you provide that office with information related to the fraudulent claim for unemployment benefits. Once you have submitted your information to the OESC, visit the Coronavirus Fraud Resources page of the Oklahoma Attorney General’s website where you will be directed to an OAG Unemployment Fraud Form that you can fill out and submit on-line. This will allow law enforcement to investigate the claim that was filed in your name.
- Consider contacting any of the three major credit reporting bureaus and inquire about placing a fraud alert on your accounts. You can contact Equifax, Experian, or Transunion directly for that purpose. Inquire with one of those organizations about whether placing a fraud alert on your accounts is something that would be a benefit to you given your individual financial circumstances.
- Visit the NEA Member Benefits website at neamb.com for additional information and products available to protect yourself further from identity theft issues. Nonprofit groups, such as idtheftcenter.org, can also provide helpful information about these issues and how to protect yourself going forward.
You are not at financial risk for the fraudulent claim for unemployment benefits.
You should immediately follow the guidelines and contact the OESC and your employer – if they have not already contacted you – in the event you are notified of a claim that has been filed using your name and social security number. These steps will ensure that the claim is properly administered by the OESC.
Ideally, any employer receiving a fraudulent unemployment claim should submit a response to OESC within the 10-day timeline specified on the notice, stating that the claim is fraudulent. Some employers mistakenly believe that they do not have to respond to “false” claims; however, OESC requires a response to all claims and, even if false, an employer’s failure to respond can result in employer liability. While that doesn’t affect the individual employee, if your employer indicates they are going to ignore the claim, please let them know it is important to respond to every OESC claim, even if they believe it is false.
If you need assistance or have additional questions, please contact your Regional Advocacy Specialist for additional assistance.