Police Warn About Unemployment Claim Fraud

Since the onset of COVID-19, the California Employment Development Department has seen a significant increase in fraudulent unemployment claims. Perpetrators often use stolen identity information from national and global data breaches and exploit expedited payment efforts in the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, the Burbank Police Department said recently.
Claims identified with suspicious account information have been closed and EDD investigators are partnering with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to prosecute offenders.
Unemployment benefits are commonly distributed on VISA debit cards, and can sometimes carry a balance of several thousand dollars. Recently, Burbank police have made several arrests of individuals found to be in possession of EDD VISA cards in other people’s names.
To help combat the increase in unemployment fraud, the BPD has reminded merchants and retailers to check identification for purchases made with credit and/or debit cards, especially those issued by the EDD. Residents are encouraged to monitor incoming mail and “return to sender” any unexpected mail from the EDD.
The best way to report unemployment fraud is to submit a fraud reporting form online, according to the BPD. Residents can also fax the form to (866) 340-5484 or call the EDD Fraud Hotline at (800) 229-6297. Penalties for unemployment insurance fraud can include prosecution by government authorities, possible jail or prison sentences, repayment of the unemployment benefits collected (plus penalties and fines), loss of future income tax refunds and loss of eligibility to collect unemployment insurance benefits in the future.
Unlawful or unauthorized possession or use of an EDD VISA card is also a crime.
For more information, visit the EDD fraud and penalties webpage, edd.ca.gov.

Leave a Reply