Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is working to address a potential fraud situation after the agency’s investigators confirmed changes to claimant's accounts indicating suspicious activity. There has been no evidence of a breach in any TWC system. In most cases, bad actors appear to have obtained password or private information from the individuals in question through direct hacking or phishing. In such cases, UI claimants are usually innocent victims.
This notification is intended to alert individuals whose personal information might have been acquired by an unauthorized person. If TWC determines that your information has been potentially compromised we will contact you. TWC is asking all UI claimants to be vigilant regarding their UI account and treat this account the same as they would their bank or credit card accounts. TWC encourages all UI claimants to regularly check their accounts to confirm the accuracy of their mailing address, email address, and bank account information.
“To date, Texas has paid out over $21 billion in unemployment insurance claims, and we know that nefarious actors are targeting that money,” said TWC Executive Director Ed Serna. “TWC proactively audits unemployment insurance accounts for evidence of fraud and we immediately lock any accounts when we confirm fraudulent activity. All fraud is a betrayal of the taxpayers and a shameless exploitation of the suffering of others for the fraudster’s personal gain and we take aggressive steps to identify it, prevent it and stop it.”
An agency-initiated audit identified several types of fraudulent activity, including instances where a claim was established under someone else’s name using their identity obtained outside of TWC. Other instances include where a claimant's banking/routing information was changed after their account was established. Another scheme involves persons filing claims for a chain business, but putting down the wrong location or one which has been closed. TWC procedures to verify employment are designed to uncover these cases. TWC proactively works with federal partners and is also following trends in other states to identify novel attacks, as well as best practices for identifying fraud.
In addition to audits, TWC has become aware of the fraudulent activity through reports of individuals or businesses receiving correspondence from TWC when no claim has been filed and the individuals are employed. The agency encourages anyone who suspects potential fraudulent activity involving UI accounts to report it through the TWC UI fraud submission portal found on the TWC homepage. If you encounter difficulties with the portal, please email TWC.firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at the TWC Fraud Hotline at 800-252-3642.