Security system used for Florida unemployment targeted

Copycat accounts using Gmail and Yahoo! email addresses

ORLANDO, Fla.ID.me, the security system used to verify the identification of Florida unemployment account holders, has been targeted via “social engineering,” according to a company spokesperson.

Nicholas Michael, communications chief for ID.me, presented the evidence collected by News 6 to company investigators this week.

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Michael said the mystery accounts point to high-tech deception.

“This looks to be a case of fraud,” Michael told News 6. “Social engineering, specifically.”

News 6 presented evidence of four duplicate accounts from News 6 viewers from across the state.

Elaneys Suarez, a single mother from Miami-Dade County, said she did not recognize the Yahoo! email address in the duplicate account that used her name.

“I’m not sure how they did it, " she said. “As far as I know, they only changed the email.”

The duplicate accounts triggered a roadblock for Suarez and others who have received this alert:

“We’re sorry. It appears you have already verified your identity on a different account.”

Florida's unemployed running into duplicate ID.me accounts. (WKMG)

Viewer email messages sharing screenshots of the ID.me message started showing up over the last two weeks.

Three victims reported using Gmail.com accounts, while Suraez used a Yahoo! account.

Michael said investigators are working to review the evidence from News 6 to determine how many accounts have been compromised.

Michael theorized that the account holders may have been duped into giving personal information to allow thieves to set up the bogus accounts.

Investigators are looking at the original email addresses and linking them to the email addresses used in the duplicate accounts.

If you have a duplicate account issue or another unemployment problems, email makeendsmeet@wkmg.com or text the words Make Ends Meet to 407-676-7428


About the Author:

News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.