Valley residents receiving debit cards, letters with wrong name as EDD investigates payment fraud

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Employment Development Department has started to investigate reported instances of payment fraud.

Over 9 million people in California have filed unemployment claims during the pandemic.

Many have complained about how long it has taken the EDD to process their claim.

But now, a growing number of people in the Valley and around the state have received letters - even debit cards - with the wrong names on them.

Amy Brooks of Fresno showed us, "This is 22 pieces of mail that I have received in the last week and a half."

Brooks was waiting for an unemployment check.

But the EDD letters were addressed to five other people and contained their social security numbers and debit cards

Brooks said, "I just don't understand how this happened."

Neither did David Robertson. He contacted the EDD to ask about his son's benefits.

Robertson explained, "Finally give her the social security number, only to find out that the address has been changed, the phone number has been changed, the email has been changed."

Robertson said the EDD paid out almost $15,000 to someone who fraudulently accessed his son's account.

Both Robertson and Brooks were frustrated by the inability to reach the EDD to fix their problems.

Brooks said, "You're on hold for hours and hours at a time before they hang up on you, so there's nothing."

Fresno Republican Assm. Jim Patterson said, "This is really working backward, Dale. The people of California should be able to talk to EDD."

Patterson was among dozens of state lawmakers who signed a letter calling for an emergency audit of the EDD. It said the EDD has failed to "provide basic customer care to millions of desperate jobless workers."

But Patterson wondered if the problem goes beyond outdated technology used by a large bureaucracy.

Patterson said, "Developing methods to stop and prevent such claims from being paid, and prosecuting the unscrupulous offenders to the fullest extent of the law."

Patterson said his office would accept any letters and debit cards sent to the wrong address. He'd have them delivered back to the EDD.
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