Texas Workforce Commission Seeing an Increase in Unemployment Fraud
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) continues to advise employers that individuals misrepresenting themselves as former employees or even as TWC staff may capitalize on the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and attempt to file fraudulent unemployment insurance (UI) claims. UI fraud creates waste and impacts the employer-supported fund TWC uses to pay unemployment benefits to the claimants who need them.
Recognition and action by Texas employers are vital steps in stopping fraud and fraudulent claims submitted using stolen identities. Employers that receive a Notice of Application for Unemployment Benefits for an employee who is still employed by them should respond to the notice immediately, stating that the claimant is still employed. Likewise, if an employer receives a Notice of Application for Unemployment Benefits for someone who was never employed by them, they should respond to the notice immediately, stating that the claimant never worked for them. Employers can respond by phone, Internet, fax or mail.
After responding to the notice, an employer should then contact TWC’s regulatory integrity division to report the fraud. This can be done by calling 1-800-252-3642 or submitting a fraud report through our online fraud submission portal.
Additionally, if an employee reports to their employer that they received material from TWC for unemployment claims that they did not file, the employee should report the fraud as well. If multiple employees report receiving false claims, employers are advised to take steps to verify their data security.
Employers are reminded that if they encounter anyone of whose identity they are not sure, whether over the phone or on the internet, they should not post or give out information related to current or former employees that could be used to steal someone’s identity. Sensitive information to avoid providing includes:
- Phone Numbers
- Social Security Numbers
Due to the volume of UI claims and corresponding fraud, TWC has prioritized investigation over notification in order to stop fraud in its tracks and protect the integrity of the UI trust fund. Once fraud is reported, immediate steps are taken to address the claim, but contact by an investigator may only occur if additional information is needed. In many cases, investigators can complete their investigation without the need for a follow-up call or email.
TWC takes unemployment insurance fraud seriously and works with federal partners and other state unemployment agencies to identify, investigate, prosecute, and prevent it, but still reminds employers that fraud is a fight we’re all in together. Businesses in Texas can help fight fraud by taking immediate action when necessary and reminding staff to take simple steps to secure personal information. Proper security measures, including safeguarding logins and passwords, protect everyone and help keep Texas’ unemployment insurance system strong for the future.