LITTLE ROCK, Ark., July 1, 2020— The Arkansas Department of Commerce’s Division of Workforce Services (ADWS) has identified an uptick in fraudulent activity related to unemployment claims as a nationwide fraud scheme continues to grow. Over the past few weeks, Arkansas, as well as several other states, has recognized an increase in reports filed for fraudulent unemployment claims and identity theft. This is an ongoing concern and top priority of ADWS, and the division is committed to appropriately investigating all reported cases.
Arkansans currently filing for unemployment benefits are not the only ones at risk of being impacted by this fraud. ADWS is investigating reports of bad actors who use the names and personal information of individuals who are currently employed, retired, and those who have never filed for unemployment. Victims of fraud often discover they have been impacted when they receive a notice from ADWS stating that a claim has been filed under their name. It appears that many individuals self-reporting these fraudulent claims have been victims of identity theft at some point in the past— some up to 20 years ago. There are also cases where individuals have been notified by their employer that a false application for benefits has been filed under their name.
It is important to remain vigilant and immediately report any suspicious activity related to unemployment claims. If you receive a letter or debit card in the mail for unemployment benefits and you did not file for unemployment, or if you suspect someone has fraudulently filed for benefits using your name or any of your information, please file a report with ADWS by:
· Visiting the ADWS website and completing the Secure Fraud Reporting Form
· Emailing ADWS.InternalAudit@Arkansas.gov
· Calling 501.682.1058 to speak with the ADWS fraud unit
Anyone who suspects identity theft or other suspicious activity should also file a police report with their local police department. You can also share this report with your localArkansas Workforce Center, creditors, and credit agencies.
To help Arkansans identify and safeguard against fraudulent activity, ADWS has created a repository of information and resources titled Be Aware, Report Fraud, Protect Yourself. This information is posted on www.dws.arkansas.gov as well aswww.ARunemployment.com and will be updated regularly to reflect federal and state best practices and recommendations.