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Employees of some Pinal County businesses recently found out unemployment claims had been filed on their behalf. That presented a mystery to them and their employers because they were still working and had not filed the claims. Now, actions of the Arizona Department of Economic Security apparently are providing some explanation. The state last weekend closed some bank accounts that were deemed to be suspicious.

Some people with apparently legitimate accounts where unemployment benefits had been deposited began reporting that their accounts had been wiped out. The resulting delay in receiving their funds is unfortunate, but it is a consequence of the extent that criminals will go to in seeking to take advantage of the internet world we all live in now.

According to The Arizona Republic, DES said that it believed a majority of the claims identified in the crackdown at Bank of America were fraudulent. The number of accounts in question was not made public. However, many of them had out-of-state addresses, although sometimes people with legitimate claims move elsewhere to find a job or for other reasons. Those with legitimate claims may email AZUIFraud@azdes.gov to straighten out their situation.

As part of the investigation, DES also has slowed down payments. That is unfortunate, but apparently necessary.

Online banking is very convenient, but it places a huge responsibility on financial institutions, and they spend considerably on personnel and efforts to combat fraud and protect their customers. That sometimes extends to credit cards being frozen because of unexpected usage while people are traveling.

Theft of personal information from corporations and the government has some bad potential consequences. As more security measures are added, criminals seek new ways to get around them. Some inconveniences result, but the cost of crime needs to be minimized as much as possible. Catching and punishing criminals certainly is a big part of that.

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