It's a new fraud involving stolen Social Securty numbers and it's claiming victims in Tampa Bay

Stolen Social Security numbers used for new fraud

The I-Team has found there are victims of Social Security theft in four different counties after obtaining police reports involving more than 20 people.

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Frank Thune, like the others in Hillsborough, Pasco, Polk and Pinellas Counties, discovered the theft of his Social Security number after the state sent his boss a claim for unemployment benefits that contained his Social Security number and his name.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office predicts unemployment fraud will explode just like tax fraud if they don't get a handle on it. But Cpl. Bruce Crumpler says so far the Department of Economic Opportunity has been less than forth coming with information.

Last week a DEO spokesperson told us this type of unemployment fraud was not widespread but in an email Thursday the same spokesperson admitted, "Since November 2013....DEO has detected and stopped payment on more than 4,100 potentially fraudulent claims."

The Department of Economic opportunity has been slow to confront other problems. In November, its executive director downplayed well-publicized foul-ups with connect the new jobless benefits system.

ABC Action News contacted Senator Arthenia Joyner Friday who says she's now seeking answers.

The DEO says it is turning over all fraudulent claims to the US Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General for investigation and possible prosecution.

 

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