MIDLOTHIAN, Va. -- The CBS6 Problem Solvers continues to hear from viewers about fraud cases involving the Virginia Employment Commission.
A Midlothian man says the VEC started sending him letters in January about a claim he had supposedly made and even sent him a debit card with hundreds of dollars on it.
He called, emailed and went online to notify the VEC that his identity had been stolen, but until CBS6 contacted them, he had heard nothing.
“The first thing I thought is that I have had my identity stolen,” said Brian Eckert. “What do I need to do, you know, is there is this a real problem? Or do I just ignore this? I didn't really know how serious this thing was.”
Eckert, a retired communications specialist who now works in a bicycle shop, would love to hear back from the VEC about those letters and bank card.
He has never applied for unemployment benefits.
“Well, I sort of had let things slide after the first two letters thinking it was just a clerical mistake, and would probably go away,” Eckert said. “But when I got the money card from a bank in Chicago, I thought, I better let somebody know about this. And so I immediately called and then emailed and then sent a letter to VEC with copies of the stuff that they had sent to me, but I haven't heard anything since.”
The VEC had sent him a debit card with $400 loaded on it. After that, a bank in Maryland sent him an ATM card for an account he never opened. He says he has frantically put alerts on all his accounts and notified the credit agencies but desperately wants the VEC to tell him how someone was able to open an account with no verification.
“I'm going to have all kinds of identity theft problems,” said Eckert. “That's the thing that I’m concerned about the most. But as a taxpayer, I’m really upset about this. I mean, the money is just being handed out, right and left, and nobody seems to be being able to stop this.”
When I asked Eckert what he would like to say to Commissioner Carrie Roth at the VEC, he said, “Tell her you've got a serious problem going on here. And now I have a personal problem going on. I'd like some reassurance or some direction, about how serious an identity problem this really is.”
Eckert says he hopes the VEC has some answers because the identity thief has access to some very specific information: he changed jobs last year and the fraudulent claim lists the employer he left in April.
“How in the world would anybody know that I had left a job voluntarily, except that my former employer probably made some kind of change to their account with a VEC?” he asked. “[That the company] wouldn't be contributing anymore on my behalf? How else would anybody know about that?”
I contacted VEC spokesperson Joyce Fogg and Friday morning she emailed to say that Eckert's case has been referred to the fraud unit.
Eckert then got a call from the VEC Friday. He says he hopes that the VEC employee he spoke with can actually help resolve some of the damage a fraudster has inflicted in his name.