UPDATE: July 28, 2020
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Public Information Officer Eric Barnes with the Little Rock Police Department told us today that the Telephone Reporting Unit (TRU) has had 352 calls just today for non-emergencies and to report unemployment fraud.
ORIGINAL STORY: July 27, 2020
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Little Rock Police Department’s Telephone Reporting Unit (TRU) is trying to keep up with reports of unemployment fraud along with the typical non-emergency calls.
Earlier this month, the Arkansas Department of Commerce Division of Workforce Services identified an uptick of fraudulent activity related to unemployment claims and LRPD said their current call volume reflects the spike.
“It’s really hard to keep up but we are just doing the best we can for right now,” said Officer Stuart Young, Supervisor of TRU, “within the past month we’ve had 150 to 200 calls a day which is a huge increase based solely off these unemployment fraud issues we’ve had with the state.”
Little Rock Police officer Stuart Young oversees the Telephone Unit, he said half of the calls coming in deals with the unemployment scam.
Young said people are being notified by HR that their personal information has been used to file a fraudulent unemployment claim. Then that person must file a police report which is why the phones are ringing off the hook.
“When you’re looking at a staff of five and bringing in a few extra officers when we can, that’s almost impossible to maintain in a day’s time and especially to maintain in a week’s time,” said Eric Barnes, Little Rock Police Department.
Eric Barnes with LRPD said on average there are five people taking calls, each call lasts about 20 minutes and with 200 calls a day, it’s nearly impossible to keep up.
Barnes says this is causing delays in people getting their reports.
“Really manpower is being pulled in every way,” said Barnes.
“Right now to try and mediate this crisis that we are having with unemployment, we are having actual officers in other substations as well that we’ve pulled out of other areas to try and elevate this issue,” said Young.
LRPD said if you are making a report, just be patient.
Currently, the department is working on a way to speed up the process.