Class action lawsuit filed against Bank of America for rampant unemployment fraud

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- 7 On Your Side has been helping scores of unemployed workers whose benefits were drained by scammers - and Bank of America rejected their claims to be reimbursed for the fraud.

Now, a class action lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Friday claims Bank of America failed to stop scammers from stealing money off EDD debit cards of struggling workers.

The suit, Yick v. Bank of America, says Bank of America never secured the cards with chip technology, and failed to prevent data breaches to secure millions in unemployment benefits.

It also claims the bank failed to reimburse victims as required by the EDD contract, and left them on hold for hours as they tried to file claims.

RELATED: EDD demands 1.4 million jobless prove their identity or lose benefits; ID verification isn't easy

"This is very frustrating for thousands and thousands of recipients of unemployment benefits who have been stripped of their lifeline in the middle of a pandemic," said class action attorney Brian Danitz, a partner at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, the firm filing the suit.

Hundreds of workers came to 7 On Your Side after fraudsters wiped out their accounts. Bank of America restored the funds, only to drain the money back out - leaving many with no money to live on.

"All my money's gone. To the tune of seven grand. So I filed a claim and they said, 'Your claim is closed.' I'm like, what? I don't get my money back?" asked Diane Davis, a Martinez resident.

RELATED: California unemployment: EDD freezes pay for thousands of workers on New Year's Day

"You guys took $16,000 from my account. Where did it go?" said Michael Conant of San Francisco said in an interview with 7 On Your Side last November.

Bank of America said it has improved customer service and reduced wait times on the phone, and is restoring money for those with legitimate claims.

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

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