Arizona’s Department of Economic Security has a new Law Enforcement Task Force to deal with residents who keep receiving unemployment insurance debit cards for COVID-19 relief, despite not requesting them.
“They are able to identify what is a mistake and what is fraud,” spokesman Brett Bezio said. “We see names and information being used in several different states.”
Through the task force, local and state agencies connect with out-of-state law enforcement, data analytics companies and financial institutions.
“They understand what’s occurring with bank accounts and the other accounts that the criminals are using, so that we can really capture the fraud that is occurring,” Bezio explained.
Criminals are using personal data stolen in large-scale breaches nationwide, like through Equifax and Target.
“Names, addresses and social security numbers that come up time and time again,” Bezio said.
Since March, Arizona has issued over $11.4 billion in COVID-19 help to 1.6 million claimants.
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“And then our team will look at that, and they’ll understand that the claim was filed fraudulently,” Bezio said. “They can go into the system and close out that fraud case.”
Agents can use the data to track and catch criminals stealing tax dollars intended to help Arizonans who lost their jobs because of COVID-19.
“Cards are being sent to addresses with names of people who don’t live there,” Bezio said. “You should still report that and provide the name on the card.”
If your name is on the fraudulent card, take extra steps to protect your identity.
Bezio suggests you take a look at the FTC website if this happens to you.