AMBRIDGE, Pa. (KDKA) – In the last three weeks a Beaver County woman has received 15 letters from the state treasury department with unemployment benefits. The problem: she didn’t apply for unemployment and each one of the letters came with a different person’s name on it.
The lady who received all these letters wanted to remain anonymous. She moved into the home in the middle of July. In the next couple days, these letters started appearing. The letters says they’re from the Pa. Treasury, but there’s a return address of Indianapolis.
“I’m concerned this could be some kind of scam. People will open these. Feels like there’s some sort of credit or debit card in here,” she told KDKA’s Chris Hoffman.
The Better Business Bureau says it actually doesn’t appear to be a scam because Pennsylvania unemployment cards are supposed to arrive in a plain envelope postmarked from Indianapolis.
The woman who received the mail hadn’t opened any of it until today when KDKA’s camera was there. Inside she found a letter that appears to be from the state treasury department and a U.S. Bank ReliaCard.
“I am concerned that if it’s not a real card that people are stealing information,” she said.
According to the Pennsylvania Treasury Department, these cards are how people are to receive pandemic unemployment assistance, but this lady didn’t apply for unemployment.
“I work as a nurse and I have not had any benefits through any treasury department whatsoever,” she said
Each of the 15 letters has a different name of someone who does not live at her address.
“I checked with my realty company. They know none of the names. They’ve never lived here,” she said while showing the letter to KDKA.
If you get something like this and aren’t expecting it, the BBB recommends telling your HR department, alerting the state unemployment office and placing a fraud alert or credit freeze on your credit reports in case anyone is using your personal information.
“It’s just concerning that any of us are vulnerable to that situation,” she said.
Here’s what the BBB recommends:
“Advise the consumer to alert her HR department regarding the situation, notify PAUC of the potential fraud and to visit identitytheft.gov to place a fraud alert/credit freeze on her credit reports just in case someone is using her personal information, including Social Security numbers and dates of birth, to file the fraudulent claims.”
The treasury department said it’s possible someone has been using her address but not her name to make fraudulent claims.
This is what it told KDKA in an email:
“Treasury strongly encourages anyone who suspects that their personal information has been stolen to check their credit report for any fraudulent activity for free, using AnnualCreditReport.com.
“To aid in our investigation and prevent fraudulent expenditure of funds, Treasury asks anyone who erroneously receives a U.S. Bank ReliaCard should follow one of the procedures below:
“1. Email a picture of back of the US Bank ReliaCard, or the number on the back of the card. Please include the individual’s name, along with their phone number and email address, to the PA Treasury Office of Investigations at firstname.lastname@example.org. The card can then be destroyed.
“1. Return the U.S. Bank ReliaCard by mail to the address below:
Pennsylvania Treasury Department
Department of Treasury Comptroller’s Office
Attn: Mark Accorsi
Room 113, Finance Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
“Detailed instructions for individuals who erroneously received unemployment compensation benefits via check or direct deposit are available on our website.“