Unemployment fraud victim still searching for answers from the state

Hillsborough County

BRANDON, Fla. (WFLA) – A Brandon woman is still fighting for answers, a year, after she was approved for unemployment benefits she never applied for.

Last October, Jessica Sanders received a letter from Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity that she had been approved for unemployment.

Someone apparently filed for benefits in her name. She was even more surprised that soon after, the same thing happened to her father.

“It does seem like it’s easy to do this. It’s disappointing. It feels like the states failed us, it feels like there’s no way to protect our identity,” said Sanders.

Despite many calls to DEO, she told 8 On Your Side she still doesn’t have answers.

“This happened about a year ago, and I’ve reached out off and on and I have never heard back,” Sanders said. “I can’t verify the phone number that was used to set up the claim, so the state can’t verify anything, but I didn’t set up the claim, it’s fraudulent.”

She worries about others who may not even know they’re victims.

“Because they’re not using your address to file these claims, they’re using somebody else’s address, and so you just don’t know,” said Sanders.

8 On Your Side reached out to DEO several times about their security procedures when it comes to filing claims. While the agency did not responded about that request yet, they did ask for Jessica’s phone number and said they would have someone reach out to her.

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