TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — There are now thousands of unemployment fraud complaints being investigated by authorities in Oklahoma.
The money that’s meant for Oklahomans who need it may be falling into the hands of people who’re trying to cheat the system.
At first, Amanda Herrold was confused.
“I could tell it was a credit card,” said Herrold. “Sure enough, it was an unemployment card.”
She said, when she realized what it was, she was frustrated. Why was she getting an unemployment card when she’s got a job and didn’t file for anything?
“You feel violated. It’s concerning because, okay they didn’t get money off of this but what else have they used my social security number for?” said Herrold.
It’s not just Herrold who’s feeling a bit frustrated.
“When you got that notification, were you surprised?” asked Channel 8’s, Maureen Wurtz.
“Yes, I think everyone is surprised when you hear things that happen to others, and then it happens to you,” said State Superintendent, Joy Hofmeister.
Both Hofmeister and Herrold are two of thousands of Oklahomans who’ve had wrongful unemployment claims filed in their name. Hofmeister said, she was notified by the HR department, so it didn’t get as far as it could have.
“Of course, they recognized that’s not the case here nor was it for others at the department,” said Hofmeister. “It’s disheartening when you realize there are those who are preying on the suffering of others.”
The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office is investigating 4,200 unemployment fraud complaints as of May 12. They just started taking claims at the end of April.
Here’s what to do if you’re a victim of fraud:
- Send an email to OESC, to stop the claims. Here’s the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Fill out this online form at the AG’s office. This will help them investigate and send the case to the proper law enforcement agencies.
- Fill out this form and then email it to email@example.com (http://www.oag.ok.gov/Websites/oag/images/Unemployment%20Fraud%20Form.pdf)
Here’s another link that details what to do.
As for Herrold, her frustration lies with the people who’re choosing to harm when so many need help.
“I know more people with problems with unemployment than I do that actually have the virus,” said Herrold.
Hofmeister said, when they realized there were a lot of educators falling victim to false unemployment claims, they investigated it. She said it turned out to be the result of a nationwide business hack that happened years ago.