According to an article by Nydia Han and Heather Grubola of 6 ABC, local victims of hackers and identity thieves are living a nightmare after fraudulent unemployment claims were made with their personal information.
Here are some personal testimonies:
1. Samantha Angelone
“‘I'm afraid to go to my mailbox every single day,’ said Samantha Angelone, who lives in Philadelphia's Fox Chase neighborhood. She said her nightmare began with an $11,000 cash card she received a year ago for unemployment compensation benefits.
‘I've never in all my years of working filed for unemployment,’ she said.
Angelone said someone fraudulently filed in her name. She filed a police report and a fraud report with the Pennsylvania Labor and Industry, which handles unemployment claims.
‘No responses. I've not gotten any responses from unemployment from all the emails,’ she said. ‘One day I called 113 times on my phone.’
What she has received is notice that she needs to pay the money back.
‘I don't know what else I'm supposed to do.’
Angelone wants written confirmation the fraudulent claim has been disqualified.”
2. Frank Schlupp
“‘Over time you begin to feel victimized, traumatized, you feel violated, and then you begin to get angry,’ said Frank Schlupp of Jenkintown.
Schlupp also wants written confirmation after a claim was fraudulently filed in his name.
‘The check was for $643 for unemployment,’ he said.
Schlupp alerted the Pennsylvania Department of Industry and Labor and mailed the check back.
‘And they still have not acknowledged that they even got the check that I returned,’ he said.
Instead, Schlupp received notification the payment was reported to the IRS, which could impact his taxes.”
The article also states that they went to state officials to specifically ask why individuals like Angelone and Schlupp can’t get written documentation, to which Deputy Secretary Susan Dickenson responded, “We just simply don’t have anything like that. There isn’t anything other than eventually a revised 1099 may be issued, but we’re still looking to see if that’s a requirement or not.” Dickenson also stated, “Don't wait for the state to give you any other revised documentation, just move forward with filing your taxes.”
However, that makes consumers uneasy.
Angelone stated, “I'm afraid that one day I'm gonna get up and all my money that I have in my bank account will be gone. I won't get a paycheck and my bills are going to start bouncing."
Unfortunately, Angelone and Schlupp are joined by tens of thousands of other individuals experiencing the same nightmare, and the state of Pennsylvania just doesn’t have enough staff to accommodate the 142,000 reports of unemployment fraud (since June 2021), 47,000 of which are still pending, along with 60,000 pending fraud reports for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program.