APOPKA, Fla. – When you are living on a monthly social security check, a sudden deposit of $9,435 in unemployment benefits from the state of Virginia tends to catch your attention.
Amanda Standish said she had never applied for jobless benefits from Virginia but then her accounts showed unemployment deposits from the states of Arizona, Ohio and Nevada.
“I never lived there, I never filed for unemployment in my life,” the retired marine told News 6 on Monday from her Apopka home. “I’m a nervous wreck, I still don’t have my stimulus check. It was probably stolen.”
Standish was a victim of a dating scam in 2018, losing her life savings of $270,000 to a man posing as an international builder who claimed he wanted to marry her.
She told News 6 she is afraid her personal information is being used by that conman to steal unemployment benefits across the country.
She was quick to alert administrators that was not her money and the accounts were frozen then closed.
Standish’s case is the latest development in a series of unemployment benefit notices that have been reported to News 6.
Cheryl Poirier is the fourth Florida woman to receive a monetary notice from the state of Massachusetts.
The Boston-area insurance manager just moved to the Orlando area in June and told News 6 she was surprised to receive an email from her New England employer asking if she had applied for unemployment benefits.
“I was shocked, completely shocked, Poirier told News 6. “I’m mad. I can’t believe that people would even do this.”
Ironically, Poirier said her identity was stolen during a visit to Florida years ago. At that time, her credit card was used by a thief in New York City.
Poirier said she filed a fraud alert with the state of Massachusetts to make sure the Department of Unemployment Assistance stopped paying out funds to imposters using her identity.
Another News 6 viewer from Winter Garden received a monetary determination notice from Pennsylvania’s Office of Unemployment Compensation Benefits that was mailed to her home on June 23.
“You are financially eligible for pandemic unemployment assistance,” the notice read, in part.
“The person that filed the claim in PA said that I was self-employed and made $105,000 last year,” she told News 6. “I am not self-employed and don’t even make half of that.”
The viewer, who asked not to be identified, told News 6 her name was used to apply for Florida Department of Economic Opportunity benefits as well.
In an email to WKMG-TV, she wrote:
“I received an email back in May from Florida’s unemployment system with a user ID. I was confused because I did not request one so I contacted the unemployment phone number and they told me that an unemployment claim was filed in my name. I am currently on paid FMLA leave with my current job so I have not filed for unemployment.”
Like her fellow victims, she submitted a fraud claim with both Florida and Pennsylvania.
If you think your identity is being used to apply for benefits in Florida or another state, email News 6 investigator Mike Holfeld at firstname.lastname@example.org.