OESC disables 20% of unemployment debit cards

Mike Seals - June 13, 2021 10:35 pm

Agency claims majority of those are fraudulent accounts


Hundreds of unemployed Oklahomans are outraged after realizing their Way2Go cards were disabled over the weekend.

“Got to the counter and it was declined and so it was quite embarrassing,” said unemployment claimant, Roxie Christian.

While many assumed this must be due to some sort of technical difficulty, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission disclosed on social media that the majority of cards were cut off on purpose.

OESC claims they did so because about 20% of users were flagged as fraudulent.

“I feel like I’ve been robbed. I feel like I’ve been scammed by the state of Oklahoma,” said Christian.

However, Christian is one of many arguing she’s a legitimate claimant and can’t afford to have her debit card disabled less than two weeks before federal benefits come to a close.

“What am I supposed to do? You know, to get food and gas and to go look for that job that I haven’t secured yet,” questioned Christian, “Oklahoma should have done everything in their power to make sure that people had the last three weeks covered smoothly.”

According to OESC, they’re currently sorting through reports from those who believe they were flagged in error.

The following is OESC’s full statement concerning the incident:

OESC did not cut off all payments to Way2Go cards. OESC is continually reviewing multiple sources of data in determining probable fraudulent activity. All action taken on claims or cards is based on analysis of data, not at random. Stops or suspensions are acted upon to not only prevent fraud to the state, but to protect claimants whose cards may have been compromised. This impacted less than 20% of cardholders and a large number are fraudulent actors posing as claimants. This is not the first nor the last time OESC will take action to prevent fraud.

OESC will continue to review requests from people claiming to have legitimate unemployment claims, but in a review of the actions taken by the agency it has been determined that the vast majority of cards that have been suspended are connected to fraudulent actors.

“My electric bill has a cut-off on the 16th. It’s coming out of tomorrow’s check that is not going to be paid due to them playing the blame game. This is not okay,” said Christian.

In the meantime, Christian fears that she and many other Oklahomans’ benefits may have been compromised in the process.

“They need to have this fixed. We, you know, we’re filing, we’ve all verified. You know, the ones that have done everything they’re supposed to do should have this fixed. They can’t just keep having glitches,” she said.

OESC tells FOX 25 they don’t have a timeline for when those issues will be fixed. They also were unable to say how many cards were disabled or what repercussions the ‘fraudulent actors’ could face.

If you think your card was disabled in error they ask that you make a report with their office sometime this week. You can contact a virtual agent on their website or call them at 405-525-1500.


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