LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Hundreds of unemployed Kentuckians could be the new target of a potential breach in the state’s Office of Unemployment Insurance Program, according to nearly 100 viewers who reached out to WAVE 3 News.
Hannah Kindoll has typically received her unemployment benefits every other Monday like clockwork since she was laid off last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, she told WAVE 3 News she never received her check this week; when she logged into her unemployment account she saw her banking information and security questions were changed.
“I got on there, and it’s Bonneville Bank,” Kindoll said. “It has a different checking account number and a different routing number,” she continued. “I called the number on the phone, and it said it was sent on Monday. It gave me the amount, and I asked, ‘Well, where did it go? I didn’t get it.’”
Kindoll believes her account was hacked and a scammer received her benefits.
She isn’t alone in the potential “hack.” Other claimants, including Traci Miller, who saw a post on the “Unemployment Kentucky” Facebook page. It was designed to help claimants having problems with the system, and warned members about a possible hack. The poster warned others to check their banking information on their account.
“Well I’ll be darned if I wasn’t compromised by a Christy Hass of Bonneville Bank,” Miller said. “It had the last four of her routing number, the last four of her account, and she took my money.”
Miraculously, Miller was able to get through on the phone lines to the man some Kentuckians have coined as the “Lone Ranger,” as he might be the only unemployment employee answering the phones; Miller’s account was unlocked, and her claim was fixed.
However, Kindoll and many others have not been as lucky.
While some told WAVE 3 News they believe the “hack” issue is an “inside job,” Kindoll blamed the new website which the state launched in March, spending $4 to $6 million on to improve security and user-friendliness, as the source of the issue.
“It’s awfully funny that I’ve had no problems,” Kindoll said. “As soon as I made a new account with the website that is supposed to be so secure, then it gets hacked? I blame the website.”
WAVE 3 News called and emailed Kentucky’s Office of Unemployment Insurance requesting information about the allegations and never received a response.
In addition, Bonneville Bank provided WAVE 3 News with the following statement:
“As a third-party bank, we have no control over states’ processes to direct payments or activity on their networks; however, we do work hard and invest heavily to identify, block and address fraudulent activity proactively. We also regularly engage state agencies and other third parties to make them aware of potentially fraudulent activity, and to help them assess, confirm and address it quickly and effectively. We’re committed to protecting our customers, and also to being an ally to government agencies and industry peers as we work together to prevent fraud.”
Those who believe they have been a victim of unemployment fraud can click here and follow the directions on the website to file a report.