College Station business owner warns about unemployment scams
The Texas Workforce Commission has seen suspicious claims surge to more than 300,000 since the pandemic started.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - A College Station business owner wants to warn others about unemployment scams. Someone filed a claim on his behalf and he’s still getting the situation sorted out.
The Texas Workforce Commission has seen suspicious claims surging during the pandemic.
There’s a stack of papers on Dan Daniel’s desk. The businessman is dealing with a huge headache.
”We received on Feb. 22, actually that was an unemployment claim that was filed in my personal name using my personal information showing a permanent layoff to D & D Moving and Storage. And as the owner of D&D Moving and Storage it was a real shocker. ‘Hey, how did this happen,?’” Daniel said.
He missed the initial response window to reply to the Texas Workforce Commission during the winter storm last month when his office was closed and the city shut down.
The state then sent him an unemployment check and started processing the claim. He was able to report the fraud to the Workforce Commission and hopes to have it resolved soon but remains concerned. He said there were challenges getting in touch with them.
”We’ve had two other employees in the past six months that this exact same thing has happened to. We’ve received unemployment claims when they did not file them. Someone filed them using their information and obviously I responded to those in the requested time period and they were denied,” said Daniel.
”Since the pandemic began we’ve had 300,000 claims flagged as suspicious for ID theft. That’s compared in 2019 to 1,200,” said James Bernsen , Texas Workforce Commission, Deputy Communications Director.
Bernsen said their investigators aren’t able to directly contact each fraud victim, but they will be in touch if they need clarification. The commission did contact Daniel after we contacted them.
“The victims, the people who have had their identities stolen, they’re not held responsible in any way for something that they never did,” Bernsen said.
“Now of course, with the large volume of claims we don’t handle these as fast as we would like to. We’re trying to get more systems in place to speed that process up,” Bernsen added.
”I do also have a colleague that’s a business owner of a moving company in Houston and the exact same thing happened to her, she was able to respond within the 14 day period and was able to close it all off. But because of the winter storm that we had, and the mail, and not being in the office I was not able to respond in a timely manner,” said Daniel.
“74.5 percent of the cases we lock the accounts down before a single dime of money has gone out and so we take a really strong, really strong charge to protect us to protect those Texas taxpayers as well,” said Bernsen.
It’s unclear how the information from the business was stolen or who might be responsible.
The Texas Workforce Commission does have a special hotline 1-800-252-3642 and website link to report fraud.
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