Please note: This blog was published on March 5, 2021, with additional resources from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) added on April 8, 2021. For additional updates or assistance navigating these uncertain times, please contact us or visit our SST COVID-19 resource page.
The U.S. Department of Labor recently reported that 730,000 unemployment claims were filed nationwide during the week of Feb. 15, 2021, well above pre-pandemic levels, when claims were coming in at an average of just more than 200,000 per week. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many state unemployment agencies have been overwhelmed, receiving more claims in a matter of months than what they would typically process over the course of a year.
The sheer volume of claims being reported, as well as additional federal funds available and states lifting some of the requirements to receive benefits due to COVID-19, have made this an attractive fraud scheme for cyber criminals and scammers.
Employers may be the only defense against unemployment funds being stolen from their employees, and the first to alert of potential identity theft. If you receive a claim for an individual that is currently working for you, SST recommends taking the following actions as soon as possible:
- Notify the employee
- Report the fraud using one of the channels below
In Texas, fraudulent claims can be reported to:
Phone: (800) 252-3642
Website (English): https://mft.twc.state.tx.us/form/UIfraudENG
Website (Spanish): https://mft.twc.state.tx.us/form/UIfraudESP
It’s important to be vigilant about responding to the unemployment agency to protect your State Unemployment Insurance (SUI) rate. Texas recently announced they will postpone setting the 2021 SUI tax rate until July 2021.
For more information, visit the following trusted resources, or contact SST today.
- News Release (dol.gov)
- Unemployment Benefits Cyber Fraud in Texas | NewsRadio 740 KTRH (iheart.com)
- Fraudulent Unemployment Claims on the Rise: What Should Employers Do? | Baker Donelson – JDSupra
Special thanks to SST Payroll & Benefits supervisor Malisia Vrana for providing the content for this post.