OIG Bulletin, October 2021: OIG Hotlines

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is committed to ensuring that members of the public can confidentially report suspected wrongdoing in the use of public funds or assets.

In service of this mission, the Office operates three hotlines for reporting concerns about fraud, waste or abuse involving public funds: a general fraud hotline and two specialized hotlines related to transportation spending. In addition, the Office maintains a procurement assistance hotline as part of its efforts to prevent fraud, waste and abuse of public resources.

Table of Contents

OIG Fraud Hotline

Since 1981, the OIG has operated a confidential fraud reporting hotline, known as the OIG Fraud Hotline, to allow public employees and other callers to report suspected fraud, waste or abuse of public funds or resources.

The OIG Fraud Hotline receives complaints in a variety of ways: by phone, email and mail; from complainants who visit the office; and most recently, through an online reporting form. OIG investigators review complaints and supplemental documents, speak with complainants and conduct additional research to determine whether further investigation by the Office is warranted. If the OIG does not have jurisdiction, or if a complaint would be better handled by another agency, an OIG employee will refer the complainant to the appropriate agency.

In 2020, the OIG Fraud Hotline received 2,774 complaints.

Approximately 1,208 complaints were related to unemployment insurance fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic. The remaining 1,566 complaints involved a variety of issues, including embezzlement, procurement fraud and public corruption.

OIG Hotline graphic: In 2020, more than 70% of all OIG investigations originated as a complaint to the OIG Fraud Hotline from a member of the public.

MassDOT Fraud Hotlines

In 2014, the OIG established an internal hotline to enable employees at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to anonymously report fraud, waste or abuse of public or private transportation funds, including any wrongdoing, misuse of equipment or other prohibited activity. In 2015, the OIG established a second hotline for members of the public to confidentially report suspected fraud, waste or abuse in the expenditure of MassDOT funds.

The MassDOT Fraud Hotlines are accessible by phone and email as well as online reporting forms available on the OIG, MassDOT and MBTA websites. The OIG’s Internal Special Audit Unit (ISAU) answers live calls in addition to monitoring incoming voicemails, emails and online forms. The ISAU evaluates each complaint to determine whether it falls within the OIG’s jurisdiction and whether the complaint merits action. Some complaints lead to extensive investigations, some are referred to other agencies and others are closed if a preliminary inquiry fails to substantiate the allegations.

In 2020, the MassDOT Fraud Hotlines received 212 complaints.

Chapter 30B Hotline

The OIG also offers a technical assistance hotline, known as the Chapter 30B Hotline, for public employees and others with questions about Chapter 30B, the state law that establishes procedures that local jurisdictions must follow when contracting for supplies, services and real property. Through this hotline, the Office helps state and local employees comply with bidding laws and conduct fair, open and competitive procurements.

Individuals can contact the Chapter 30B Hotline by emailing or calling and leaving a voice message 24 hours a day. OIG staff members generally respond to questions within one business day.

In 2020, the Office responded to 1,196 inquiries on the Chapter 30B Hotline.

Additional Resources

Contact   for OIG Bulletin, October 2021: OIG Hotlines

Date published: October 25, 2021
Image credits:  Shutterstock

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