Now more than ever it is incumbent on every employer to carefully monitor and scrutinize all correspondence from the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services (ADWS). If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for electronic correspondence from ADWS. Otherwise, you will likely not know about unemployment insurance claims until your mail arrives, is opened, reviewed and understood.
Randy Zook says, “it will cost you money if you fail to protect your interests in the unemployment insurance claim process.”
Arkansas State Chamber/AIA Unemployment Insurance/HR Committee Chairman Mike Moore of Friday, Eldredge & Clark said, “Employers need to be aware of a scheme going on in Arkansas and other states where hackers are submitting fraudulent unemployment claims.” Moore continued, “ADWS is reporting that unknown parties who have obtained information from previous data breaches of different organizations are using that information to submit fraudulent unemployment claims. Employers need to be vigilant as to their receipt of Notices to Last Employer or Notices to Base Period Employer from the ADWS.”
If fraudulent claims appear in reports you received from ADWS, you should respond immediately to ADWS. Documentation can be filed with ADWS on its website www.dws.arkansas.gov , by telephone at (501) 682-1058, or by email at ADWS.InternalAudit@Arkansas.gov.
DWS has trained more workers to answer the hotline, so you should be able to get through quicker. If the claimant/employee/victim contacts DWS directly, the claim can be stopped permanently. Claimants will also be instructed to follow up by emailing a police report to ADWS.InternalAudit@arkansas.gov.
Moore added that “employees who are notified that a claim has been submitted on their behalf, must obtain a police report and submit a copy of their photo ID and the police report claiming the fraud to ADWS in order to stop the payment. Fraudulent payments received by employees who are not unemployed will be reported to the IRS and will be taxable income.”
In a July 1 press release, ADWS said, “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.”
The ADWS website includes a report, Be Aware, Report Fraud, Protect Yourself, to help employers recognize scams, report fraud, safeguard information and provides helpful links. Clink here to go directly to the report.
Go to the ADWS website and sign up for electronic communication with ADWS