Unemployment Insurance Fraud Support
Fraudulent unemployment insurance claims (UI Fraud) have become increasingly prevalent during the COVD-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, individuals associated with MTSU and other peer institutions in the state have not been exempt from such fraudulent activity. However, this fraudulent activity has not resulted from any MTSU data breach, system compromise, or unauthorized access to institutional data. MTSU is not aware of any data security incident, in which personal, private, and unencrypted information was compromised in a way that may have provided unauthorized access to an outside party connected with this fraudulent activity.
The malicious actors usually use multiple sources to find the personal identity data for this fraudulent activity. First, they find MTSU employees' public information (e.g., name, email address). Next, they search for other personally identifiable information (e.g., date of birth, street address, personal phone number) readily available from public records and social media sites. Social security numbers are typically obtained from previous third-party data breaches. Additional information on the subject matter is available on the U.S. Department of Labor Website. Also, MTSU's experience aligns with Vanderbilt's experience per their HR Website. Note the statement "…there is no evidence that Vanderbilt University employee data has been breached" toward the bottom of the page.
The State of Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development has worked hard to ensure verification measures to detect fraud. The controls to protect against payment of these fraudulent claims are working. It may be impossible to stop the submission of these false claims because of the vast amounts of personally identifiable information (PII) available from previous breaches (2021 Experian T-Mobile data breach exposing 15 million records). The State of Tennessee also has a site dedicated to UI Fraud here.
If you are a victim of unemployment insurance fraud follow the steps below.
Report the suspected fraud to the TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development.
1. Send a detailed email to BPC.Investigations@tn.gov stating you are a victim of identity theft and include the following:
- Name, address, and phone number of the individual
- The last four (4) digits of your social security number (remember never email your full social security number)
- Where the individual is working (address and phone number if known)
- Dates of employment
- If self-employed, type the business and any know customers or clients
2. If you prefer to call, you can do so by dialing (615) 645-3893; however, it is recommended to use email for tracking and confirmation purposes.
For out of state claims, notify the unemployment office in the state in which the fraudulent claim was filed. Please go to the Department of Labor UI Theft site and scroll to the State Directory for Reporting Unemployment Theft to find the appropriate email address and phone number to use.
File a complaint form with the National Center for Disaster Fraud by following these steps:
- Click the NCDF Disaster Complaint Form
- On the next page:
- Under Please Select the disaster that relates to your complaint, select COVID-19 in the drop down
- Next click the second check box – Unemployment Insurance – Related Identity Theft
- Scroll down the page to YOUR INFORMATION and complete
- Scroll down page to: Please describe the fraud or other criminal conduct you are reporting below (this is a required section) and complete
- Complete any other sections if information is known.
- Click Submit following the Privacy Act Statement to complete your form.
Notify the MTSU Human Resource Services Department if you have not yet been contacted by the University. The Office of Human Resource Services is made aware of claims through UT Sides E-Response and will notify you directly; however, if you have not been notified, please contact Kathy Musselman, Assistant Vice President for Human Resource Services at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Contact the three major credit reporting agencies and file for either a credit freeze or a fraud alert. Visit https://www.identitytheft.gov/UnemploymentInsurance for direct links to the credit reporting agencies and for explanations of credit freezes and fraud alerts. You can review your credit report for free at http://www.annualcreditreport.com/.
MTSU maintains a robust, multi-layered cyber security strategy protecting employees' PII. Some of the cyber security controls implemented include multi-factor authentication, multiple firewall layers protecting systems and networks. Encryption protects employee and student records while data is in transit and at rest. Next-generation antivirus solutions are in place to defend against advanced malware, ransomware, and other threats. While we utilize multiple tools and applications as part of our defenses, dedicated cyber security professionals manage and monitor the implementation and oversight of MTSU's security strategy. For example, when we are made aware of a suspected fraudulent unemployment insurance claim, we reviewed account activity to verify that no suspicious activity has occurred.
We will continue to communicate with the State of Tennessee to discuss the process and identify how we might further mitigate the impact on our campus community.
Human Resource Services
Middle Tennessee State University
2269 Middle Tennessee Boulevard
204 Sam H. Ingram Building
Murfreesboro, TN 37132-0001