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'I was shocked, infuriated': Women receive false unemployment claims in their name
Several women tell NBC 10 News they have been receiving false unemployment claims in their name. (WJAR)

Shocked and confused. That's how Breanne Wilson, a local X-ray technician, said she felt when she received notice about an unemployment claim in her name that she never filed.

Wilson, who is still working full-time, said several letters from the state were mailed to an old address where she lived eight years ago. A friend who now lives there noticed the paperwork in the mail and contacted her.

"I was shocked, infuriated, confused to say the least," Wilson told NBC 10 in an interview Monday.

Wilson said she grew increasingly frustrated after trying to contact the state multiple times to report the claim but got nowhere. She said the letter reported she stopped working at the end of March and filed for unemployment in April, none of which was true.

She wondered who filed the claim in her name and feared the state didn't pick up on it. She wondered if money was deposited into someone's bank account.

"They should be upset that these people are stealing thousands and thousands of dollars that could be going to people who really do need it," Wilson said.

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But she's not alone.

Amanda Moore, a local pharmacist who has been working throughout the pandemic, said she same thing happened to her.

"I'm getting approved for unemployment that I'm not even eligible for," Moore said.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Rhode Island's Department of Labor and Training told NBC 10 fraudulent claims were "expected" due to the high volume of claims and added, "The fraud we are seeing results from previous identify theft and is not a result of a breach in our unemployment insurance (UI) system, which we continue to monitor rigorously."

Moore said she recently received a claim in the mail stating that her last day of work was on March 20, which she said was not true because she is still showing up to work.

"It's with my maiden name, it has my social security number and my current address, which I've never lived at with my maiden name," Moore told NBC 10 Monday.

Both Moore and Wilson told NBC 10 they tried contacting DLT for several days and stayed on hold for several hours but never reached a person to talk to. Both said their calls and emails were not answered.

"I feel violated that my identity has been taken and I don't know who took it, which I would like the Department of Labor and Training to answer because I feel like they should be able to follow the paper trail to see who applied and what bank account my payments were going to go into," Moore said.

Wilson said she was a victim of fraud several years ago but believes the state needs to do a better job at handling false insurance claims.

"I think the system is definitely flawed," she said. "I think changes need to be made, maybe more safeguards or verification. It shouldn’t be this easy for people to file fraudulently like this."

If you believe you received a fraudulent claim, DLT said you can send your information to DLT.INVESTIGATIONS@dlt.ri.gov or contact the Rhode Island State Police.

A spokesperson for the Rhode Island Attorney General told NBC 10 "We encourage individuals who are concerned about fraudulent claims being filed in their name to contact the DLT or the RISP. If they are unsuccessful, they may also reach out to the consumer protection unit at the Attorney General’s Office and we will refer their complaint to DLT and the Rhode Island State Police for investigation."

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