Town Investigating Reported Fraud Attempts On Employees

David Creed •

The Town of Nantucket’s Human Resources Department confirmed Wednesday evening that they have become aware of reports of fraudulent unemployment claims made in the name of current or former town employees. While the town did not specify the number of claims they are investigating, two sources told the Current anonymously that it is impacting 20-25 town employees working in the Nantucket Public Schools and Nantucket Fire Department.

“We take these reports very seriously and are investigating the matter,” the town’s human resources department and town administration said in a joint statement. “At this time, we have no reason to believe that our internal systems have been compromised or hacked. However, we are taking additional steps to ensure the security of our systems and the personal information of our employees.”

The town did not specify the steps it is taking to ensure the security of their systems, however they did say that these incidents from earlier national data breaches have been fraudulent unemployment claims filed through the Department of Unemployment Administration (DUA) system, adding that this issue is “not unique to Nantucket.”

“When we receive a request for unemployment, we first verify the validity of the claim with the employee directly before reporting to DUA,” town officials said. “Our third-party administrator has reported to the Town that there has been a recent increase in fraudulent unemployment claims across the state and provided us the attached flyer (below) to share with impacted individuals.”

Town officials added that they are urging any current or former employees who believe they may have been the victim of unemployment fraud to contact the state’s unemployment office immediately to report the incident.

Following an uptick in in fraudulent unemployment claims early on in the pandemic, the State Department of Unemployment created a website to direct anyone who suspects they are victims of unemployment to an area to report these claims, which you can access by clicking here.

The Current reached out to Nantucket Fire Chief Michael Cranson, Superintendent of Schools Beth Hallett, and Nantucket Teachers’ Association president Page Martineau to confirm whether they have been made aware of these fraud claims and to confirm whether it is town employees in their respective sectors of the island that are the victims of these claims but have not yet received comment.

This isn’t the first time this year that fraud or potential hackers have been in the island news. Ransomware attacks forced the closure of Nantucket Public Schools for two days in late January.

Nearly one month later, Hallett said during a school committee meeting that the school was continuing to deal with the fallout from those attacks while working to beef up their security systems to ensure it does not happen again. She said that the situation was “far from over.”

This story will be updated.

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