Scammers File Unemployment Claims For Over 550 Worcester City Workers

Worcester City Hall

WORCESTER, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Over 550 city employees have had identity thieves use their information to file for unemployment insurance benefits.

As unemployment claims have risen during the pandemic—so people could have the ability to continue paying their bills and feeding their families— there has been a surge in national schemes.

Dori Vecchio, Worcester’s human resources director, told The Telegram & Gazette that between March to mid-August the city had received 40 claims. Since then, there have been over 500 claims.

There are around 6,800 employees working for the city, and each department has been affected by the scammers.

Superintendent Maureen Binienda was a victim of three fraudulent claims. She said she the first time she received a letter from the state Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) congratulating her of her Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program approval, and that she had already received $10,000.

When Binienda spoke to a DUA employee, they told her that they had not been verifying all claims since the demand during the pandemic has continued to be so high so they wanted to get the money out to people who needed it.

The second time, Binienda said a hacker attempted to file for regular unemployment benefits under her name. She then placed a fraud alert on her credit.

A third fraud attempt was made when a scammer pretended to be the superintendent and emailed the school department's payroll saying they would like her direct deposits to be routed to a new banking number.

The state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development said between March 8 and June 30, almost 60,000 of 1.6 million unemployment claims were determined to be fraudulent. Information on claims filed since July 1 have not been made public.

Follow WBZ NewsRadio:Facebook|Twitter|Instagram|iHeartmedia App

(Photo: Getty Images)

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content