TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — To prove you are who you say you are, Florida has tasked ID.Me, a federally certified identity provider with the job.
“We’re verifying over 1 million people per month,” said ID.Me Founder and DEO Blake Hall.
He says ID.Me began its work in Florida last summer only verifying “high risk” claims. But, he says that was quickly expanded to verifying new claims this year. They’re doing the same in at least 20 other states.
“In virtually all of those large states, Florida being one of them, we’ve seen fraud rates around 30% just in the identity verification side,” Hall said. “That’s over 10 times what we typically see at federal agencies.”
That has prompted Florida to take a look at all claims submitted from February until December of 2020. It’s caused wait times for video chat identification to rise. Some people say it's taking more than 4 hours to get someone on the video chat.
“Our typical times for video chat are like 30 minutes usually in the morning and usually at peak times it gets up to about two hours,” Hall said. “Right now, Florida and several other states like Nevada are sending their entire pool of claimants through all at once.”
Jordan Lawrence, a single mom who lost her job in February, is one of them. She says she still hasn’t received any of the benefits owed to her.
“It’s been a long time coming. I’m not sure what else to do. I’ve tried for so long and then I gave up a little bit,” she said.
She went through the ID.Me verification last week and the company support team confirms she’s been verified. But, her account is still locked. We’ve sent her information to DEO to find out why.
Last week we spoke to a woman who was having problems with ID.Me.
“I can’t get through that and the frustration is a nightmare,” said Christine Egitto.
Within 30 minutes of sending her info into ID.Me’s support team her account was verified.
“I want everyone who’s watching this to understand we care a lot,” Hall said. “My whole life has been about service to this country and we are working our tails off to make sure that we get everybody through.”
But Hall also showed ABC Action News examples of the fraudsters they’re dealing with — people on the dark web attempting to sell personal information.
“‘Pros’ is dark web slang for a bundle of demographic data and a ‘fullz’ is a specific type of pro, it’s your name your date of birth your social your address your phone number your email, it is literally everything about your legal identity,” Hall said, showing an ad posted on the dark web.
That information can be used to file an unemployment claim. But, he says ID.Me has two other verification steps a phone number tied to your name and a selfie feature. Even though he says the technology works it doesn’t stop scammers from trying anyway.
“This isn’t like a little bit of the time, this is like 2 - 2 and a half out of every hundred claims we see crap like this, where it is obviously fraud and it is somebody trying to claim somebody else’s ID,” Hall said.
The long wait times for video chats should only last about two weeks as they work through last year's claims and says in the end it will save taxpayers money.
“Out of every crisis there’s always an opportunity to get better and now it’s how do we make these systems more accessible, how do we make them more secure so that this never happens to anyone again,” Hall said.
ID.Me says it’s opening up a Tampa branch in May of this year and will be attempting to fill more than 500 positions.