OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An out of state vendor used by multiple state agencies is under harsh scrutiny.
KFOR aired a story last week about a woman whose unemployment benefits were drained from her card, and more people are now claiming this has happened to them as well.
“It makes me sick to my stomach,” said Jeannie Kirkpatrick, whose unemployment benefits were stolen.
Kirkpatrick says she was at a loss for words when she saw Cherie Leach on KFOR last week.
Leach’s “Way2Go” card, used by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission to deliver benefits, was wiped clean overnight.
Kirkpatrick’s story is almost identical.
“I went to pull off some money, sure enough there was no money on there,” said Kirkpatrick.
Kirkpatrick and Leach were not the only ones KFOR heard from.
“It’s very infuriating,” said Venecia Horn-Randolph, whose money also mysteriously disappeared from her “Way2Go” card.
Between the three women, nearly $10,000 vanished, with no explanation from Conduent, the company in charge of the cards.
“We work hard for our money, and we don’t deserve for people to sit on their rear and take our money,” said Kirkpatrick.
With a search online for Conduent, it doesn’t take long to find its Better Business Bureau rating, which is an F.
BBB cites 138 complaints filed against the company and says Conduent never responded to 55 of those complaints.
A lawsuit against Conduent remains open in Georgia after it was filed back in 2018. The lawsuit includes allegations of money disappearing off a “Way2Go” card and “sham investigations.”
KFOR talked with the attorney who filed the suit, who says Oklahomans have already reached out to him. He says a motion has been made to certify the suit as a class action case. A hearing is set in Georgia for July 23.
“We wonder why OESC is using this card company, because it seems like a lot of people are having issues,” said Horn-Randolph.
Conduent is also used by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and the State Treasurer’s Office as a way to pay state employees.
OESC Interim Director Shelley Zumwalt told KFOR she’s aware of the problems with the vendor.
“How concerned am I? I’m extremely concerned,” Zumwalt said Wednesday.
Zumwalt says the contract with Conduent was put in place before she took over. She says she is currently working with the company to resolve the problems.
“It makes me…honestly, you can kind of hear me getting angry. It makes me very angry. I don’t think there’s been a day that’s gone by that I haven’t dealt with an issue with the cards,” said Zumwalt.
Those impacted say they wonder why the state uses the company at all.
“It needs to be an investigation,” said Horn-Randolph.
“Why don’t we reach out and find somebody that’s more credible and more reliable,” said Kirkpatrick.
The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office tells KFOR it has received complaints against Conduent and is investigating.
Conduent offered this statement to KFOR:
“As part of its commitment to providing the State of Oklahoma’s residents with important unemployment benefits through Debit Card and Direct Deposit services, Conduent takes seriously the privacy and security of account holders and responds as quickly as possible to suspected incidents of fraud. We have strong measures in place for our clients to prevent fraudulent activity, complying with all regulations and in line with industry standards. While we do not comment on individual accounts, we strongly recommend that all account holders take proper precautions to guard against identity theft by protecting their personal data from wrongdoers and changing their account sign-on and password information regularly. Although Conduent estimates current fraud rates on state unemployment cardholder accounts to be in line with historical levels, we encourage consumers to take the appropriate steps to prevent theft of their identity or other personal information in their day-to-day online and banking transactions. We encourage residents suspecting fraud on their state unemployment account to contact our team immediately so that we can facilitate the resolution for cardholders and work with the state on behalf of Direct Deposit enrollees.”Conduent
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