Fraud alert: Unemployment Claims and Identity Theft
Across the United States, state unemployment offices have been receiving an ever-increasing number of fraudulent claims from people claiming to be someone else. Colleges and universities are no exception, and Baylor has been receiving such claims from people fraudulently assuming the identity of our faculty or staff. As such, all Baylor faculty and staff are urged to take precautions against identity theft and notify Baylor Human Resources if they receive mail from Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) or other state agency about unemployment claims and take other steps as identified below. With the start of the new year, it is a good time to take the opportunity to refresh your personal passwords and take other measures to keep yourself secure from identity theft by taking actions recommended by the Texas Attorney General.
To be clear, there has been no evidence of a breach in any TWC system nor in Baylor University’s systems. This fraud is occurring across the nation regardless of any breach in computer systems. According to TWC, Texas has seen an unprecedented increase in the number of unemployment claims. Potential fraud was connected to more than 4,500 unemployment claims in Texas this year.
In many of these fraudulent cases, unsuspecting Texans were the targets of identity theft, then had their stolen identities used to make unemployment claims. In most cases, bad actors appear to have obtained password or private information from the individuals in question through direct hacking or phishing as stated in the TWC news media.
For those who find themselves a victim of a fraudulent unemployment claim, we suggest the following steps:
- If a current employee, contact the Baylor Human Resources department so we can file a fraud claim.
- If you receive a letter from TWC asking for repayment based on a fraudulent claim, you should follow the instructions included in the letter on how to appeal the decision or contact Human Resources for assistance.
- Report any fraudulent claim with TWC Unemployment Insurance division fraud submission portal found on the TWC homepage. To report unemployment benefits related issues, please contact the Texas Workforce Commission at 1-800-252-3642. Complaints may also be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Utilize the Employee Assistance Resources available here to include LegalConnect and FinancialConnect for resources and support due to Identity Theft.
- File a fraud report with the local police or sheriff department, drivers’ license office, and other agencies. More information on reporting Identity Theft is available from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
- Contact major credit bureaus such as Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, since the breach may involve social security numbers, birth dates, and other personal information.
- Contact your banking institution and any creditors to make them aware of the situation.
- Review the U.S. Department of Justice Unemployment Insurance Fraud Consumer Protection Guide.
Baylor Human Resources wants to partner with our employees to protect their personal information and support the reporting of fraudulent claims. Contact us at askHR@baylor.edu or 254-710-2000 for any questions.