HUDSON, Fla. — The Department of Economic Opportunity implemented multi-factor authentication earlier this month to combat fraudulent activity but the measure came too late for a Hudson woman whose identity was stolen.
What You Need To Know
- On Sept. 2, the DEO implemented a new login method to combat fraudulent activity
- Linda Montesano said she's skeptical about whether the new measure will help people like her
- DEO spokesperson said the claim taken out in Montesano’s name has been locked and encourages individuals to report fraud to the agency’s help center
"Somebody fraudulently put in a claim under my name," said 69-year-old Linda Montesano. "It's very frightening when this happens."
Montesano said she received a letter from the DEO dated Aug. 17, which said she had "recently submitted an application for reemployment assistance." It also stated the retired registered nurse had worked for a construction company for one year.
I have never put in a claim through the DEO for a reemployment of any kind, or any kind of claim for money," she said. "To my surprise it had my address, my name and the last four of my social security."
Montesano said she tried reaching the DEO multiple times to alert the agency about the fraud.
"I relentlessly have been contacting the DEO and what I always get is a recording and it tells me they're going to switch me to a customer service rep and I get a hang-up," she said. "I am highly upset because I'm sure I'm not the only one out there that has gotten something like this and it appears to me the State of Florida isn't doing anything about it."
On Sept. 2, the DEO implemented a new login method to combat fraudulent activity. In a press release the DEO stated, "The Department understands the challenges many Floridians face with accessing the Reemployment Assistance system due to bad actors attempting to gain access to personal information and accounts."
Claimants must set-up multi-factor authentication and create an ID.me account to access the DEO's CONNECT website. The agency states multi-factor authentication is a common best practice tool that is often required to securely access a variety of websites.
Montesano said she's skeptical about whether the new measure will help people like her.
"I think it will only cut down the problem that they are having for people who are waiting for their check," she said. "I can't get into an account that I haven't made up myself."
Montesano said she's not sure if the criminal ever got any money in her name. DEO spokesperson Andrew Nixon said the claim taken out in Montesano’s name has been locked and encourages individuals to report fraud to the agency’s help center.
The DEO also states their new log-in method will not affect a claimant's ability to continue requesting unemployment benefits.