Wyoming Unemployment Fraud
The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services takes stopping and punishing people who commit unemployment fraud very seriously. If you lie or file fraudulent claims to receive benefits, you could lose your benefits, be fined, or even go to jail. The information you give will be checked using employer records and other programs.
How to report Wyoming unemployment insurance fraud
There are a few ways to report Unemployment Insurance fraud in the state of Wyoming.
You can report fraud by phone by calling (307) 235-3658, or you can download the state’s fraud report form and mail it to:
Wyoming Department of Workforce Services
Unemployment Insurance Division – BPC
PO Box 2760
You can also fax the form to (307) 235-3277 ATTN: BPC
What constitutes unemployment fraud?
The following actions are considered fraud when collecting Wyoming unemployment benefits:
- Not reporting how many hours you worked and how much money you earned
- Hiding that you have a job, even if it’s part-time, temporary, or you’re self-employed
- Lying about why you left a job
- Doing work for someone and not getting paid
- Pretending you’re looking for work when you’re not
- Not telling the government about job offers you turned down
- Not telling the government about school attendance
- Using someone else’s name or Social Security Number to receive benefits
- Allowing someone else to use your personal identification number
- Filing for benefits while outside the United States
- Failing to tell the government if you’re unable to work because of illness or other reasons.
Penalties for committing UI fraud in Wyoming
If you receive unemployment benefits due to fraudulent activity, you may be subject to the following penalties:
- You must pay back all the money you received.
- A five percent penalty will be added to the amount you owe every six months until it is repaid.
- An additional 15 percent Fraud Assessment will be added to all overpayments.
- You will be ineligible to receive Unemployment Insurance for 52 weeks.
If it is determined that you committed fraud on purpose, you could be criminally prosecuted and subject to additional penalties. If prosecuted, you will be disqualified from receiving Unemployment Insurance for an additional two years.
What is an overpayment?
When you receive unemployment benefits, the amount you’re eligible for is based on the answers you give on your weekly claim form. After you receive the money, the government verifies the information you gave. If they find out the information was wrong, you will have to pay the money back.
Not all overpayments are due to intentional fraud. A few common reasons overpayments occur include:
- A decision from a hearing officer changed a previous decision,
- You reported your pay for the week wrong, but then corrected it later.
- Your employer reported your pay wrong, but then corrected it after you received benefits.
What happens if I can’t repay an overpayment?
If you can’t repay the overpayment in full, the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services will create a monthly payment plan for you. You will receive a bill every three months and a receipt after each payment.
If you are still receiving benefits after an overpayment is received, the agency will create what’s known as an “offset” by subtracting what you owe from future benefits.
Can I get my overpayment waived?
In certain cases, you can ask the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services to forgive the overpayment. You must ask for permission to waive repayment within 15 days of receiving an overpayment notice. Then, you need to fill out a form and meet the rules set by the state.
If the overpayment was caused by fraud, the agency will not waive the overpayment.
What happens if I don’t repay the overpayment?
If you do not pay an overpayment back after receiving reminders, the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services can take you to court. If they win, they can garnish money from your paychecks or bank accounts or put a lien against your property.
Wyoming Benefit Accuracy Measurement Program
The Benefit Accuracy Measurement (BAM) Program ensures people who receive Unemployment Insurance payments are getting the right amount. They randomly choose a select number of claimants each week to verify that payments are correct. They also check to see if people who were denied benefits should have been eligible to receive them.
How do I know if I’m selected for an audit?
If you are selected as part of an audit, the Unemployment Insurance agency will alert you once the week is over and you have received your payment or were told you weren’t eligible for benefits.
They will ask you to answer questions about your claim. You may need to talk to a representative on the phone, mail in a form, or visit your local Wyoming Unemployment Office in person.
How Does the Audit Work?
Each week, a certain number of Unemployment Insurance claimants are randomly chosen to be audited. This is to make sure that the person who received benefits was eligible to do so. During an audit, the agency will:
- Interview the claimant
- Check with the worker’s former employers to verify information
- Verify that the claimant has been actively trying to find a new job
- Determine whether reasons for unemployment meet program requirements
After reviewing all this information, the agency will decide if the person was given the right amount of money. If they received too much or too little, they will try to figure out if it was the person’s fault, the government’s fault, or the employer’s fault. They keep track of how often this occurs and why so that they can improve the system.
Wyoming Identity Theft
Unemployment Insurance identity theft occurs when somebody uses your personal information—name, Social Security number, employment history—to illegally collect unemployment benefits on your record.
You may be a victim of unemployment insurance fraud if:
- You tried to apply for Wyoming unemployment but were notified you were already receiving benefits.
- You received a letter about Wyoming unemployment benefits in the mail but never applied.
- You received an IRS tax statement or form for benefits you never received.
- Your employer told you an unemployment claim was made on your record while you are still working.
It’s important to report unemployment insurance fraud and identity theft as soon as you suspect it may be happening. The faster you report, the quicker the situation can be investigated and put to a stop.
How to protect your personal information
The Department of Workforce Services (DWS) has noticed an increase in unemployment fraud schemes using text messages. These texts try to steal your personal information and money.
Scammers may try to get your information by phone, text, or email. They might ask for your Social Security number, bank information, passwords, or other personal information. DWS will never send you a text with a link to log into your account.
Don’t click on links in emails or texts unless you know it’s from a trusted source. If you’re not sure about a link, don’t click on it. Go to the official website instead.
Make sure your information, like your address and phone number, is correct on your unemployment or workers’ compensation claim.