Volusia County teacher says unemployment benefits rerouted by imposter

DEO issued $1,600 to Alaska credit union

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – A veteran Volusia County Schools paraprofessional recently discovered her Department of Economic Opportunity account had been hacked by an imposter.

The hacker rerouted $1,600 in unemployment benefits in her name to a global credit union based in Anchorage, Alaska.

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Maureen Singer told News 6 it was a fluke that she even discovered her account had been manipulated.

“I went online to check for my tax information because I had filed for unemployment in 2020,” she recalled. “I noticed someone had filed weeks (when) I was back to work for the school board.”

Singer said she immediately changed her DEO password and took a screenshot of the bank information.

The screenshot shows the funds were issued to a routing number for Alaska USA Federal Credit Union in February and March of last year.

According to the company website, Alaska USA Federal Credit Union is " among the 20 largest credit unions by membership.”

Singer said she is not sure how the thieves were able to access and edit her DEO account.

She said they removed her designated bank account and rerouted six weeks of benefits to the credit union.

She filed a fraud report with the DEO, but as of Dec. 23, the department had not removed the weeks from her unemployment file.

Since changing her password she said no additional funds had been paid out.

“I would like to see the six weeks taken off so it’s not on my unemployment record,” she said.

News 6 contacted the DEO’s reemployment staff and they have indicated they are reviewing her account.

DEO Communications Director Emilie Oglesby said tax forms will be available on accounts this week.

The DEO recommends that claimants and employers use the Reemployment Assistance Help Center. This online resource is continually updated with additional features for claimants and employers to notify the DEO of reemployment assistance fraud or identity theft.

Based on the average 2021 third quarter statewide unemployment rate of 5%, any claim filed starting Jan. 1 is eligible for up to 12 weeks of benefits.

To visit the Reemployment Assistance Help Center, click here.

If you have any unemployment issues email makeendsmeet@wkmg.com or text the words “Make Ends Meet” to 407-676-7428. Please include your issue and a screenshot of your DEO account.

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.