EDD fails to act as SF man reports ID theft in his name, gets benefits card anyway

ByMichael Finney and Renee Koury via KGO logo
Wednesday, November 2, 2022
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A San Francisco man pleaded with the EDD to please stop paying benefits to a scammer using his identity.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A man tried for nearly a year to warn EDD someone was collecting benefits in his name -- and what did he get? An EDD debit card.

As 7 On Your Side has reported, the Employment Development Department froze 345,000 disability claims trying to stop a new wave of fraud -- scammers using stolen identities to file phony claims. Many identity theft victims say they tried to alert EDD when thieves used their names -- but got no response.

This particular viewer is the owner and employee of his own shipping company. So he was surprised when he got a notice from the EDD saying he'd just claimed disability benefits -- he never did. He kept trying to tell EDD to stop the claim -- but in the end, he got an EDD debit card apparently loaded with benefits.

Herman Ng of San Francisco was pleading with the EDD -- please stop paying benefits to a scammer. "I'm trying to tell you it's a fraud, you know, I'm not trying to claim money. I'm telling you, don't pay," he said. "I'm trying to help the government. I'm saying don't pay, this is fake, do not pay."

He tried calling, faxing and writing letters to the EDD. But no response.

"'Hello, EDD, someone fraudulently applied for disability under my name. They have also changed my address to order a debit card from Bank of America...' Nothing," Ng said after reading one of his messages to the EDD.

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The ordeal began last November when EDD sent Ng this notice saying he'd just claimed disability benefits.

"And I didn't apply for any disability or unemployment," he said.

Right away, Ng called the fraud hotline listed on the notice.

"Thank you for calling the Employment Development Department fraud hotline..." the fraud line's message said.

"That line never picks up, it never picks up," said Ng.

He left a message and filed an official fraud report on the EDD website.

MORE: New rules means more eligible for retroactive EDD benefits; others need to return overpayments

Still no response.

"They're telling people to report fraud, they don't follow through, they don't do anything," Ng said.

He tried to cancel the phony claim online, but ironically only the scammer had access to the account.

"It is just, the frustrating thing is, yeah you can't get through to EDD at all," he said.

The EDD kept sending him notices updating the phony account, like one saying he'd changed his address.

But finally a glimmer of hope. The EDD notified Ng his account was suspended until his doctor's identity could be verified.

VIDEO: Fraudsters steal $15,000 from Bay Area man's EDD card, Bank of America says 'no error occurred'

"That means they have an idea it's suspicious, right? Suspicious it might be fake. So I thought it was all done," Ng said.

But it wasn't. In August, Ng got a piece of mail: an EDD debit card, apparently loaded with benefits. That phony claim was still alive.

Ng called the bank.

"I say, you know what, this is fraud. I didn't apply for anything....please cancel or do whatever you have to do."

To his surprise, Bank of America said it had already sent debit cards to him in two other states.

"'We have an Oregon address for you and an Iowa address for you...' I said, 'No I did not do anything at all,'" he said.

MORE: EDD puts wrong name on Bay Area man's unemployment claim

"And I remember watching Channel 7..." Ng continued.

Ng contacted 7 On Your Side. We asked EDD why it did not shut the claim or respond to Ng's fraud alerts.

For "the thief tried another angle to get funds on the account and Bank of America issued a new card," but "no further funds were authorized."

EDD did not say how much, if anything, the scammer received.

Which leaves Ng frustrated.

"People like me are trying to tell that it's fraudulent and they're not listening to us at all," he said.

At our request, EDD finally did contact Ng and assured him his name and Social Security number won't be linked to the fraudulent claim. It's something to watch out for since EDD payments are taxable and they remain on your EDD records.

You can report identity theft to the Employment Development Department here.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

7OYS's consumer hotline is a free consumer mediation service for those in the San Francisco Bay Area. We assist individuals with consumer-related issues; we cannot assist on cases between businesses, or cases involving family law, criminal matters, landlord/tenant disputes, labor issues, or medical issues. Please review our FAQ here. As a part of our process in assisting you, it is necessary that we contact the company / agency you are writing about. If you do not wish us to contact them, please let us know right away, as it will affect our ability to work on your case. Due to the high volume of emails we receive, please allow 3-5 business days for a response.

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