Man reports fraud, EDD cuts off benefits to entire household

ByMichael Finney and Renee Koury KGO logo
Thursday, September 24, 2020
EDD's fight against fraud cuts off legitimate claims
Households across the country have been receiving letters from the California EDD, but addressed to strangers. To prevent fraud, the EDD is now cutting off benefits to those households -- and in one case, cut off a legitimate claim.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- We've reported how folks across the state and country have been getting mail from the EDD addressed to complete strangers. Turns out to be scammers using random addresses to file phony claims.

Now EDD has stopped paying benefits to anyone at those addresses. But will that cut off legitimate claims too? 7 On Your Side has found... it already did!

RELATED: Woman gets EDD letters awarding, denying benefits in the same day

It happened to a family in the South Bay. They were getting EDD letters addressed to strangers. Now EDD has cut off all benefits to that house - but it cut off a family member too.

Linda Dodge of San Jose keeps getting EDD mail addressed to total strangers. "There's a lot... I got 44 of them today."

So does Kenneth Warren of San Leandro... and Nick Chrimes of San Jose.

"There's 30 letters, all from EDD," said Chrimes.

When Nick kept getting these letters, he reported it to the fraud department at the EDD.

VIDEO: Florida man erroneously receives 12 letters from the California EDD

A Florida man says he received 12 letters from California's EDD, all were addressed to strangers but at his address.

Apparently no good deed goes unpunished. The EDD, trying to stop these scammers, cut off all benefits to anyone at Nick's address.

Including Nick's son Ben.

"It has to be the efforts I undertook raised a red flag about this address," said Nick.

Ben was laid off from his restaurant job at Levi Stadium when it shut down in the pandemic, no fans allowed.

Ben has been collecting unemployment ever since - until last week.

"So I went to pay my cell phone bill and found my card was declined," Ben said.

Without any warning, Ben was locked out of his EDD debit account, unable to access his money.

"It was a little bit of panic and fear," he said. "I knew I had money in there."

A call to the bank confirmed his fears.

RELATED: Are you getting mysterious EDD letters? Scammers file bogus claims using random addresses

"They blacklisted this address, is what I've come to gather. They just put a blanket block on this entire address," he said.

The bank told him EDD had locked accounts for Ben and eight others with the same address.

Those eight were the scammers.

"Now I had to contact EDD again and go through the process again and kind of verify who I am... I had to wait on hold for three hours to even speak to an individual," said Ben.

And no one at EDD could tell him what was going on.

"I have no way of knowing exactly how long I'm gonna be blocked out of my account," Ben said.

RELATED: Lawmakers call for accountability for EDD's 'unacceptable' performance

The EDD has announced it will no longer process multiple claims from a single address, in efforts to stop fraud. It did not say what happens to legitimate claims at those addresses -- like Ben's. A spokesperson told us EDD was too busy to clarify the policy or tell us how many legitimate claims are getting cut off - like Ben's.

"I actually am a legitimate person, my account isn't part of the fraudulent activity that's been going on, and please let me have access to my account!" exclaimed Ben.

Many of you are getting EDD letters for multiple strangers. So far Ben is the only one we know of who has had his legitimate benefits cut off. If it happens to you, let 7 On Your Side know about it.

See more stories and videos from 7 On Your Side here.