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Posted on: April 14, 2021

Scam Alert: Rise In Fraudulent Unemployment Claims

Picture of person hammering a piggy bank and robber taking the change

Recently, the Lakeway Police Department has noticed a spike in Fraud/Identity Theft reports, specifically involving fraudulent unemployment claims filed with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The perpetrators are likely taking advantage of the influx of unemployment claims as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent news article, the Texas Workforce Commission has received approximately four million claims during the pandemic, of which 373,000 were flagged as “suspicious”. Here in Lakeway, our agency received 17 reports of TWC-related Identity Theft between March 1, 2021 and April 13, 2021 as opposed to zero reports during the same period last year. 

The Texas Workforce Commission recommends using their secure online portal to report any suspected ID theft claim, or email them at TWC.fraud@twc.state.tx.us. Victims can also contact TWC at 800-252-3642. 

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, “If your employee receives material from TWC for an unemployment claim they did not file, you should advise your employee to report the ID theft claim using TWC’s online portal. While either you or your employee may report the suspected ID theft using the portal, we prefer that the information comes directly from the person whose identity was stolen." Employee can find information about how to report ID theft on the Unemployment Benefits ID Theft page with TWC. 

Based on open source intelligence, suspects are primarily obtaining personal identifying information (PII) via email phishing scams aimed at employers. It is likely these actors are based overseas, making investigation/prosecution at a local level highly unlikely. If you receive a suspicious email or text message, avoid replying back with any personal information. 

Residents of the City of Lakeway who find themselves victimized by this form of Identity Theft can also contact us at 512-261-2800 to file a police report.   

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