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Oklahomans experiencing suspected unemployment fraud

Posted at 9:22 PM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 23:17:14-04

TULSA, Okla. — Unemployment issues continue to cause problems for Oklahomans. One of the latest is suspected unemployment fraud.

Lynn Matthews' last day of work was March 19.

“I’m going on almost six weeks without work and no benefits," she said.

Matthews filed for unemployment and received her debit card quickly. But when she went to apply for her weekly benefits, she was unable to. She said the system said she was an unauthorized user. After weeks of calls to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, she still doesn’t have many answers except that it seems someone is getting her money.

“When I call the automated system it tells me that I’ve applied for all weeks available even though I haven’t been able to apply for any weeks," she said.

Oklahomans are seeing suspected fraud in other places too.

Bill Hader owns a small business in Tulsa. He said two people tried to file unemployment claims against him, but he didn’t recognize their names or social security numbers. His biggest issue with that is his state tax rate could go up because of it.

“Then I have to go battle with the OESC to get my tax rate back to normal," he said. "Or the normal level it should be. But then however they’ve got to go back and pay me those taxes that I had to pay back.”

Homeowner Robert Palmer suspects people are using his home address to commit possible unemployment fraud. He said he’s receiving mail from the OESC addressed to many different people, but all for his address.

“They’ve got the wrong address," he said. "And then I started flipping through some more mail and three more, two more of them pop up. And I got three at the same time on the same day.”

All three have reported their suspected fraud claims to the OESC, and they’re all still waiting for answers.

“It’s really sad that, especially at this time, when people are suffering so much that people are using that as an opportunity to do fraudulent things," Matthews said. "It’s just really sad.”

You can report suspected fraud by emailing the OESC at fraud@oesc.state.ok.us.

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