Across California, people continue to receive mail from the Employment Development Department (EDD) that is not theirs. Some are looking for ways to return it to its rightful owner while others are taking advantage and spending money that is not theirs.
“This is 22 pieces of mail that I have received in the last week in a half all addressed to my personal home address and there are five different names between the 22 pieces of mail,” Amy Brooks said.
Brooks is unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic and is still waiting for her unemployment benefits in the mail. But instead, she’s receiving strangers' mail. That makes her concerned about her personal information and for her personal safety.
“It scares the heck out of me. I live at home with my husband, my mom, and two boys, and to think that somebody would come to our door and possibly break in or barge in and demand this stuff scares the heck out of me,” Brooks said.
EDD says the best way to report fraud is through fax or an online form. Assemblymember Jim Patterson said if EDD is aware of fraud, an investigation needs to happen involving law enforcement, which is what Patterson says he is doing when constituents come to him with EDD fraud concerns in Fresno.
"To the extent that we have the information and we can discover phony addresses and phony claimants, we are going to turn that information over to the police or to investigating authorities,” Patterson said.
ABC10 reached out to the EDD regarding the claims of mistaken identity and they say they are aware that people who have not filed an unemployment claim are receiving multiple pieces of EDD mail.
In a part of its statement, EDD says they are working with local, state, and federal partners in exposing fraudulent schemes at the core of these multiple claims, developing methods to stop and prevent such claims from being paid, and prosecuting the unscrupulous offenders.
Patterson said EDD's outdated technology is to blame, so he is joining other lawmakers requesting an emergency audit.
“The governor, the EDD, the federal government with its inspector general, they have to engage in this and start digging into what’s going on because people are losing their identity and people are losing their unemployment benefits,” Patterson said.
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