BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Unemployment fraud is rampant across Alabama and the country. So much so, the state has an entire division dedicated to researching fraud, but not everyone who calls is successful at getting through.
Twenty-eight. That’s the number of attempts Robert Colville made to report unemployment compensation fraud to the Alabama Department of Labor Thursday morning.
“So, it’s never been like this where it’s always busy,” Colville said.
Colville lives in Hoover, but works for a law firm based out of Atlanta, Georgia. The human resources department alerted him to the fraud last Wednesday.
“The young lady at the HR Department says, ‘Robert, did you file an unemployment claim?’ I said, ‘No!’ And she said, ‘Well, I didn’t think you would. I know you got transferred to a new department, but I knew you wouldn’t do something like this.’ I said, ‘Right. So, what’s going on?’ So, she’s the one who told me, or informed me, that someone had filed an unemployment compensation claim in my name using my social security number,” Colville explained.
Since then, he’s made dozens of calls, and when he’s not getting a busy signal, he’s on hold for up to three hours and hasn’t been able to speak with anyone.
“I actually even sent a letter to the state representative Gary Palmer. I have not heard from them yet, but I sent that letter just to let them know that hey, you know, I think there’s a lot of people out there that are having a problem with this. What can we do to get this corrected?” Colville said.
Public Information Officer for the Alabama Department of Labor, Kelly Betts, said the department is aware of multiple fraud claims and is investigating.
“This is a problem throughout the country. We are not alone in this,” Betts explained.
“We have investigators on staff, and we have ongoing investigations right now. They will eventually find out who has been accepting money in his name,” Betts said.
Right now, it is unclear how many people have filed unemployment fraud claims in the state, or how many people are available to handle those claims.
When asked what could have prevented Mr. Colville from getting through, the department was unable to answer.
If you have an unemployment fraud claim, you can call (855) 234-2856, or email email@example.com.