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Confronting Identity Theft. A Nebraska Department of Labor Best Practice Presented by Becky Buchanan UI Benefits Program Supervisor Interstate Program Coordinator Nebraska Department of Labor. LEGAL RATIONALE.

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confronting identity theft

Confronting Identity Theft

A Nebraska Department of Labor

Best Practice

Presented by Becky Buchanan

UI Benefits Program Supervisor

Interstate Program Coordinator

Nebraska Department of Labor

legal rationale
LEGAL RATIONALE

QUESTION: “What’s wrong with paying benefits to claimants who are not the rightful, legal owners of the SSN? They still earned the wage credits, right?”

WRONG

If we knowingly turn a blind eye to ID Theft, we are facilitating a crime. Using false identifying information for monetary gain is a crime in Nebraska and probably all other states. Collecting UI benefit payments is a monetary gain and it is a crime if the identifying information does not lawfully belong to the claimant.

slide3

Identity Theft is a crime by statute

Neb. Rev. Stat. §28-639

A person commits the crime of identity theft if he or she knowingly takes, purchases, manufactures, records, possesses, or uses any personal identifying information or entity identifying information of another person or entity without the consent of that other person or entity or creates personal identifying information for a fictional person or entity, with the intent to obtain or use the other person's or entity's identity for any unlawful purpose or to cause loss to a person or entity whether or not the person or entity actually suffers any economic loss as a result of the offense, or with the intent to obtain or continue employment or with the intent to gain a pecuniary benefit for himself, herself, or another.

problematic id theft issues for ui claims
PROBLEMATIC ID THEFT ISSUES FOR UI CLAIMS
  • Callers who report to the agency that their SSN has been stolen. No claim has been filed. What can the agency do without a claim?
  • A query to SID/IBIQ show wages in multiple states in the same quarters. What are the next steps?
  • An employer indicates a claimant has never been separated or had hours reduced. The person is still employed 40+ hours per week. The worker told the employer he never filed a claim. How do we investigate?
  • Claimants who file on the internet from out-of-state and indicate they are citizens (bypassing a SAVE check). Claim information indicates a possible misuse of SSN. An in-person verification of identity is not possible due to out-of-state residence. What are the next steps?
formation of policy group
Formation of Policy Group

CONSISTED OF MANAGEMENT FROM:

  • UI Benefits
  • Benefit Payment Control
  • UI Adjudication
  • Internal Security
  • Call Center
  • Information Technology
  • Benefits Administrator
  • UI Tax (partnered with us to provide Field Rep assistance to verify identity in-person)

NOT OVERLY TIME CONSUMING

  • We met only three times for 1-2 hours maximum.
  • We discussed specific cases that could be addressed by the policy.
  • Managers solicited feedback from their front-line staff
  • The policy was drafted after the third meeting and emailed to everyone for comments.
id theft policy
ID THEFT POLICY

Adjudicators and Claims Specialists should report all cases of identity theft to their supervisors, who will then notify the Benefits Section (Wage Investigations).

CLAIMANT OR CALLER REPORTS IDENTITY HAS BEEN STOLEN:

Caller should be told to file a police report and notify the Federal Trade Commission.

Online: http://ftc.gov/idtheft

Phone: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338) TTY: 1-866-653-4261

By Mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580

section 1 identity theft with out of state wages
Section 1: Identity theft with out-of-state wages
  • When a claimant insists that out-of-state wages do not belong to him, the claims taker should notify a supervisor immediately. The claims taker should not “feed” the claimant any employer or wage information appearing in other states. The claims taker should ask the claimant where he worked and if he worked in any other state besides Nebraska. The claims taker will not add any out-of-state employment if the claimant indicates he did not work in the other state. The claims taker’s supervisor will then notify the Wage Investigation Unit in Benefits.
section 1 identity theft with out of state wages cont
Section 1: Identity theft with out-of-state wages cont.
  • In cases of misuse of SSN/stolen identity involving out-of-state wages, the Benefits Program Supervisor may notify the Interstate Coordinator in the other state(s). The Call Center Management will keep a list of claims in this category and notify the Benefits Program Supervisor/IPC. A name check may be conducted with the other state, as well as other procedures described below.

(UPDATE: IBIQ names has really helped expedite this process. Screenshots follow. 36 states have this capability! Several other states are still working on it.)

section 1 identity theft with out of state wages cont1
Section 1: Identity Theft with out-of-state wages, cont.
  • The Wage Investigation Unit in the Benefits Section may also investigate the possibility of misuse of SSN for the out-of-state wages by contacting the Social Security Administration as described in Section II (5).
  • If the out of state wages are legitimate, the Benefits Section may add the employer(s) and send an IB4 requesting the wages.
section 1 identity theft with out of state wages cont2
Section 1: Identity Theft with out-of-state wages, cont.
  • If the preponderance of evidence indicates that the out-of-state wages are not the claimant’s, an issue will be set (MOS = “misuse of social security number”) and the Benefits adjudicator will document the findings in the notes section when resolving the issue. This issue, along with adjudicator notes, will be visible on the non-monetary issue list screen. The issue will be adjudicated as an MOS90 allow. No determination will be mailed to the claimant. No tally or count is taken for this issue. The purpose of this issue is informational and for internal staff only. The goal of this issue is to prevent other staff from duplicating efforts, adding the employer and sending an IB4 when the wages do not belong to the claimant.

SEE NEXT SLIDE FOR EXAMPLE: 

slide13

The MOS– Misuse of Social Security Number issueMOS090 - Not a formal determination and resolved without a tally/count.This is an allowed issue that internally notifies staff to not add the employment in the future. Communicates to staff that the issue has already been investigated. This also prevents duplicate work, erroneous overpayments, and unnecessary IB4s.

section i identity theft with out of state wages cont
Section I: Identity theft with out-of-state wages, cont.
  • If the facts indicate a possible willful misrepresentation of identity/facts from the claimant regarding out-of-state employment or Nebraska employment, the Benefits wage investigators will follow steps 3, 4, 5, and 6 under Section II, in the course of their investigation.
section ii identity theft with nebraska wages
Section II: Identity Theft with Nebraska Wages
  • If a claimant or employer reports information that indicates a possible misuse of SSN, the claims taker should create a wage investigation (417) for that employer.
  • Since this is a possible identity theft situation, the claims taker should notify a supervisor, who will then notify the Benefits Section/wage investigation unit.

The supervisor will often send me an “MOS” email, summarizing the situation . The Benefits section then sets the MOS issue and proceeds to investigate.

section ii identity theft with nebraska wages continued
Section II: Identity Theft with Nebraska Wages, continued.
  • In the course of investigating fraudulent identity, the Benefits staff will request the following documentation from the claimant: driver’s license or state ID card or passport, birth certificate (if available), Social Security Card, permanent resident card (if not a citizen). This documentation will be requested on a claimant “MOS” template letter. A copy of this letter must be imaged and Benefits staff will need to create a correspondence number.
mos template letter to claimant
MOS Template letter to claimant

Information received by the Nebraska Department of Labor indicates a possible misrepresentation of identity. As a result, we must verify your identity before paying unemployment benefits. We require that you mail copies of the following documents by DUE DATE.

  • A copy of your Social Security Card
  • Driver’s license or state ID card or passport
  • If you were born in the USA – a copy of your birth certificate
  • If you were not born in the USA and you are citizen – a copy of your Naturalization Certification showing that you are naturalized citizen
  • Legible copies (front and back) of your resident alien card and work permit, if applicable
  • Employment history within the last 18 months (dates of employment, location and states where you worked)
  • List the states where you applied for Unemployment Insurance Benefits within the last 18 months

NOTE: All documents must be legible and clear.

If you do not provide the requested documentation by the due date listed in the first paragraph of this letter, you have two additional business days to contact this office to explain. If you do not report or respond to this notice, you may be disqualified from receiving Unemployment Insurance Benefits payments.

Please mail your documentation to: - etc.

section ii identity theft with nebraska wages continued1
Section II: Identity Theft with Nebraska Wages, continued.
  • The Benefits staff will also request from the employer a copies of I-9, social security card, state ID or driver’s license or passport, permanent resident card (if not a citizen), copy of birth certificate (if claimant provided this to employer). Benefits staff will compare documents provided by the employer(s) and the claimant. This documentation will be requested on an employer “MOS “ template letter. A copy of this letter must be imaged and Benefits staff will need to create a correspondence number.
mos template letter to employer
MOS Template letter to employer

The Nebraska Department of Labor is investigating the identity of claimant FIRST NAME LAST NAME (SSN: xxx-xx-xxxx). Information received by our department indicates a possible misrepresentation of identity. We must reconcile this conflict before paying unemployment benefits to the person named above.

Our records indicate your company employed the claimant from DATE to DATE. Please provide the following identification documents so that we may verify this claimant’s identity.

  • Copy of I-9
  • Copy of the Social Security Card presented to you
  • Copy of Driver’s license or State ID or Passport
  • Copy of Birth Certificate (if available)
  • Copy of permanent resident card (if applicable)

The Nebraska Employment Security Law gives Department of Labor employees statutory authority to request this information. The legal citation is provided at the bottom of this page. Thank you for your cooperation.

For statutory authority – next slide

since an employer asked here s our statutory authority to ask for such information
Since an employer asked, here’s our statutory authority to ask for such information . . .

Nebraska Revised Statute 48-612

Employers; records and reports required; privileged communications; violation; penalty.

Each employer, whether or not subject to the Employment Security Law, shall keep true and accurate work records containing such information as the Commissioner of Labor may prescribe. Such records shall be open to inspection and be subject to being copied by the commissioner or his or her authorized representatives at any reasonable time and as often as may be necessary. The commissioner and the appeal tribunal may require from any such employer any sworn or unsworn reports, with respect to persons employed by it, which he, she, or it deems necessary for the effective administration of such law. Except as otherwise provided in section 48-612.01, information thus obtained or obtained from any individual pursuant to the administration of such law shall be held confidential.

section ii identity theft with nebraska wages continued2
Section II: Identity Theft with Nebraska Wages, continued
  • A designated member of the wage investigation staff in Benefits will also contact the Lincoln Social Security office. That wage investigator will ask when the first SS card was issued and where. Also, the investigator will ask when any duplicate SS cards were issued and where. Demographic information will be verified as well, including mother’s maiden name, city of birth, birth date, and possibly other identifying info.
section ii identity theft with nebraska wages continued3
Section II: Identity Theft with Nebraska Wages, continued
  • If the above techniques yield inconclusive results and the claimant resides in Nebraska, an in-person verification of identity may be used. See section V.
  • If the Benefits Section/Wage Investigation Unit determines that the claimant is fraudulently using a social security number not lawfully issued to him, the claim will be disqualified BYB to BYE using the MOS099 issue (Misuse of SSN). This adjudication will be completed by Benefits staff and a determination will be sent to the claimant, which is appealable. Benefits staff will zero out the wages in BPS and move them to the invalid file. The employer should never be deleted from the claim.
slide23
The MOS099 disqualificationDisqualified BYB to BYE – a formal determination is mailed with appeal rights.
section iii identity theft with nebraska wages no claim benefits section only not used often
Section III: Identity Theft with Nebraska Wages – no claim (Benefits section only; not used often)
  • Wages will be moved to the “Invalid File” (housed on the UI Tax system), if the preponderance of evidence indicates a misuse of SSN. Benefits staff will complete the proper forms for the UI Tax Department when moving wages to the invalid file.
  • A print-out of the wage file will be sent to Papervision for imaging, with a notation on the print-out as to why wages were moved to the Invalid File. This document will be referenced by Employer Account number only.
section iv overpayments involving misuse of ssn
Section IV: Overpayments involving misuse of SSN

If a caller states he/she never filed a claim and does not owe any overpayment, the claims taker should notify a supervisor, who will then notify Benefit Payment Control (BPC). The caller should be advised to report the identity theft to the FTC as well as to the police. The caller should be advised to obtain a police report. BPC will provide further instruction regarding the possibility of non-recoupment of the overpayment. Nebraska does not have a waiver of overpayment provision in its Employment Security law.

* Nebraska does not have a “waiver” provision for overpayment. Only non-recoupment.

section v in person verifications of identity
Section V: In-person verifications of identity

In limited circumstances, an in-person verification of identity may be necessary. The Benefits Program Supervisor will request assistance from UI Tax or BPCU field reps. The wage investigation unit will handle the correspondence to the claimant requesting an in-person report, via a BEN-83. If the claimant fails to comply, the claim will be disqualified from BYB to BYE on the basis of probable misuse of SSN.

beyond the policy other techniques
Beyond the policy – other techniques

In the absence of training dollars for staff, use available local resources

  • Develop and maintain good relations with Lincoln Social Security.
  • Attend any free law enforcement trainings. Benefits staff attended free community-wide training from ex-FBI agent on ID Theft.
  • Jim Spanel – our current BPC Field Rep - is a retired supervisor of police officers from the Lincoln Police Department. He also graduated from the Reid School of Interviewing & Interrogation. Mr. Spanel recently trained our staff on interviewing techniques.
workload limitations
Workload limitations . . . .
  • When there is no UI claim involving a particular state’s wages, investigating wages involving ID Theft is a low priority for most states’ UI Tax or UI Benefits departments. From the interstate perspective, investigating identity theft can be very difficult, considering these workload barriers.
what works
What works . . .
  • Despite significant obstacles, we are not giving up on the goal of ensuring we are paying the lawful owner of the SSN attributed to wage credits.
  • Publication of a formal policy, which continually evolves with changing circumstances and new criminal schemes.
  • Creatively utilize local resources for ongoing training and information.
  • Keep lines of communication open between departments, units, and cooperating agencies.
contact information
Contact Information

Becky Buchanan

UI Program Supervisor/Interstate Program Coordinator

Nebraska Department of Labor – UI Benefits Section

402-471-9812 phone

Rebecca.Buchanan@nebraska.gov

THANK YOU!