Target 8: ID theft victims threatened with wage garnishment, cleared by UIAJanuary 25, 2021
LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — The state’s unemployment agency took action after Target 8 shared the plight of workers threatened with wage garnishment over jobless benefits they never sought, nor received.
“I never thought I’d be so excited to get a call from the unemployment agency,” said Greg Glover of Rockford, who received a call from a state fraud investigator Friday.
The phone call came after Target 8 investigators sent Glover’s name to the state, along with those of several other identity theft victims in West Michigan who’d been trying to resolve their cases for months.
“It was the biggest relief ever to finally be able to talk to someone in person,” Glover said.
“I tried to call multiple times. I’ve written letters. I’ve sent emails. But no reply. Until today. (The investigator) was able to clear my case and lock my file,” Glover continued.
Glover is among hundreds of thousands of Michiganders whose identities were stolen amid the massive wave of unemployment fraud early in the pandemic.
MI ESTIMATES IT LOST ‘HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS’
The Unemployment Insurance Agency estimates it lost “hundreds of millions” of dollars to criminals who filed fraudulent claims under stolen identities.
But taxpayers weren’t the only victims.
Innocent people whose names were used began receiving letters from the state demanding repayment of claims and threatening wage garnishment.
Target 8 first reported on a Jenison Public Schools teacher who, despite notifying UIA of the fraudulent claim through its website as instructed, continued to receive letters ordering her to repay more than $7,000 UIA paid out on the fraudulent claim.
The same day that story aired, a UIA fraud investigator contacted the teacher in question to work toward resolving her case.
Jenison Public Schools also received a call from the state, clearing all three of the JPS employees UIA had been threatening with garnishment.
After Target 8’s initial report Jan. 14, several more identity theft victims contacted our investigators, including Greg Glover.
Most of those whose names Target 8 sent to the state Friday morning reported receiving calls from UIA the same day to begin resolution of their cases.
If you’re struggling to settle your case, despite reporting the fraud as required at michigan.gov/UIA, you can send us an email with your contact information at email@example.com.
“It was very, very stressful to think they were going to take $13,000 of my money,” said Carley, who got a call from UIA Friday after months of receiving letters demanding repayment.
‘IT WAS VERY SCARY’
“It was very scary because you don’t have any control. If they tell you they’re going to garnish your wages, they’re going to garnish your wages,” said Carley, who discovered last July that the state had paid out $13,000 to someone using Carley’s name.
“I received a call (Friday) from the fraud…