JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Unemployment numbers are back on the rise in Florida and Georgia, and so is unemployment fraud.
When asked if fraudsters are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bobby Fultz, the fraud investigation manager at VyStar Credit Union, replied, “yes.”
“I think the states are going to have to do more, which I think they are because we have never seen this magnitude of unemployment or issues of this nature,” Fultz said.
New unemployment claims in Florida rose to 75,444 for the week ended Jan. 9. The surge is to the highest level since August.
Georgia’s unemployment claims are up almost 5,000 from the week before.
Fultz says with those kinds of numbers, it’s easier for someone to commit unemployment fraud.
“A lot of the money that is being scammed from the state or from the person and being sent to gosh knows where,” said Fultz.
Prior to working in the private sector, Fultz was in the Secret Service for 15 years.
Fultz’s number one recommendation to avoid being a victim of fraud is protect your sensitive information.
“Don’t share your banking information with anybody, even your family,” said Fultz.
If you believe you are a victim of unemployment fraud, you can report it through the re-employment assistance fraud hotline: 1-800-342-9909.