DES confirms accounts of some unemployment recipients emptied

Another problem at the Department of Economic Security reveals it has stripped thousands of dollars from eligible unemployment recipients.

The state agency is investigating what happened, but haven't revealed how widespread the problem is or when it will be fixed.

"It was just gone."

Rhonda Whitlock was stunned when she went to use her unemployment funds from DES on Saturday morning.

"I went in and tried to use the ATM and it wouldn't work on credit. It wouldn't work on debit. It kept denying me and I went back to the car and looked at the Bank of America app and it showed zero."

FOX 10 heard this story repeatedly from other unemployment claimants.

Thousands from Caryn McShanes account vanished as well.

"It just seemed strange to me. Who knows? I don't know why what."

DES now confirms they aren't alone. In a statement, a spokesperson said, "DES is aware some Unemployment Insurance benefit claimants received a message today from Bank of America of a card account closure notification. We are investigating in coordination with Bank of America."

They haven't said how many people are affected, why or when the problem will be fixed.

"You can't get through to them to ask them anything, so you're pretty much dead in the water," Whitlock said. " It's very important. When you need to pay the water bill or electric bill or gas for your car so you can go to interviews."

"That's our survival money, you know," McShanes said.

On Thursday, July 9, the agency confirmed they were trying to crack down on fraud after detecting tens of thousands of potential cases. 

DES officials: "tens of thousands" could be affected by unemployment filing scam

When FOX 10 first reported on the scam, dozens of people were believed to have been victimized.

Many, but not all of the people we've heard from whose accounts have been closed have an out of state address.

"I know there’s a lot of fraudsters out there, but there’s a lot of people that do not have a job that just need help right now," Whitlock said.

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