Not the way to wake up Monday morning.  An email from the President of the Company, “Pam, can we assume this is fraud?”

This was CCC’s first indication that things had started going wrong in Washington State. CCC received an unemployment claim for me, Pamela Kiel, the Director of Communication, who was most definitely still employed full-time. I immediately contacted the Washington State Employment Security Department’s Fraud unit via telephone. After making it through the recording, it disconnected me saying their system was overloaded. Ugh, oh. So I emailed them with the information requested via their website and then checked my credit, social security reporting, and bank accounts!

CCC has a strong history of monitoring UI claims for fraud. (Last May we were concerned it was on the rise and published an article about identifying and reporting fraud.) Our leadership team at CCC immediately realized we likely weren’t alone and that Washington wasn’t the only state. So CCC began insuring that we could manage what was soon to be another crisis in unemployment. First the filing of the record number of claims related to COVID-19, then the increase in Work Refusals once states began opening up and now fraud.

Our first step was to verify that our instructions for fraud reporting in each state was up-to-date. Done.

After some investigation, so far our clients have reported large fraud numbers mainly in Washington at this time, though we are seeing increases in California, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island. CCC is sending out notification of fraud concerns to all clients in Washington State and monitoring other states to determine if and when additional notifications should be sent.

Washington State ESD has taken the step to stop paying benefits for 2 days after finding $1.6 million in fraudulent unemployment claims. The increase has been so dramatic in Washington that the procedures for reporting fraud claims have changed in the last 24 hours!

Washington ESD’s email address (esdfraud@esd.wa.gov) until today, was the preferred method for reporting fraud. The state email system was so overwhelmed, that it began bouncing emails back to filers over the weekend. (mine, fortunately, did not bounce back). Beginning today, the ESD has an online form to allow those affected to report fraud. As well, there is a mass reporting form for employers to upload to report fraud to the agency.

CCC is here to assist our clients with fraud claims. We will be monitoring this issue and reporting updates to our clients and future clients.  If you believe you have a fraud issue, please contact your CCC Account Executive for additional information and assistance.

 


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