Home>Articles>EDD Debit Card Fraud On The Rise, 44 Arrested In Beverly Hills This Month

Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. (Photo: Wikipedia)

EDD Debit Card Fraud On The Rise, 44 Arrested In Beverly Hills This Month

Value of stolen cards, products bought exceeds $2.5 million from Beverly Hills busts alone

By Evan Symon, September 19, 2020 2:34 am

Throughout September, levels of Employment Development Department (EDD) unemployment fraud through debit cards reached new highs, with dozens of arrests occurring in Beverly Hills this month alone and over $2.5 million reported to have been on stolen EDD debit cards.

44 arrested fraudsters in Beverly Hills

44 people, mostly out-of-state non-residents, have been arrested since September 3rd in Beverly Hills according to a Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) press release. 129 stolen EDD cards were found during the busts with values on them approaching $2.5 million, along with almost $300,000 in cash. The Beverly Hills cases join a growing string of recent EDD fraud cases, including reported cases in Riverside, Fresno, and other places across the state.

“Scammers are using a complex profile of stolen personal identifying information most likely obtained from national and global data breaches,” said the BHPD in a statement.

As EDD debit cards can hold as much as $20,000 at one time, the fraudsters have used stolen identities with EDD benefits and had them loaded up on numerous cards. As much as $1,000 can be withdrawn every day can be withdrawn from a card, creating a system of constant money generation through stolen EDD accounts and withdrawals.

Debit cards don’t often work online and could be easily traced, so the fraudsters focused on physical stores to make purchases with withdrawn cash, although in many cases cards were still used. This led fraudsters to Beverly Hills, where high-end goods and other expensive products could be bought, and where luxury apartments and cars could be easily rented.

“As soon as we knew what to look for, like EDD cards, we started questioning them more severely,” said Jan, a Rodeo Drive-based store employee, to the Globe. “Our store had the BHPD go through our records, and many had actually shopped here.

“The EDD tries to make the card look as normal as possible, which was largely unfavorable to us. I know they don’t want to make people feel embarrassed when they use them, but they should really state on the card what it is so we can make an easier judgement call.”

“But, right now, we’ve simply been asking for ID and other checks on them. One customer today we actually quickly found their Facebook as they had shaved and we needed another way to verify it. That’s how stringent we are now do to all of these people grabbing cards out of people’s mailboxes and whatnot.”

Police departments, stores, EDD close gaps in system that allow fraudsters to currently operate

BHPD letter to business owners. (Photo: BHPD)

Stores across Beverly Hills and the luxury store lined Rodeo Drive have, since the rise of EDD fraud earlier this month, been implementing new security checks. The BHPD has sent letters on ways to detect fraudsters to help the stores out. Other luxury store areas, such as around the Union Square area of San Francisco and shopping centers in Los Angeles and Orange County, have had similar warnings.

The EDD is also increasing security to help eliminate fraud. As most of the fraudsters have used people with Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to receive the stolen benefits, the EDD shut down automatic backdating of claims, eliminating many ‘easy’ fraud possibilities in the department and leading to a large decline of PUA claims.

“The EDD took action to shut down automatic backdating in the PUA program,” said the EDD in a statement. “Following that, PUA applications dropped sharply to 145,790 last week, a decline of more than 72%.”

The rise in EDD benefit fraud is expected to decline soon as the fraudsters had exposed ‘holes’ in the system and have immediately remedied them, such as automatic backdating of PUA applicants and increased ID checks on debit cards.

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16 thoughts on “EDD Debit Card Fraud On The Rise, 44 Arrested In Beverly Hills This Month

  1. And now they are putting all New Unemployment Requests on hold for two weeks while they try and fix the system and catch up on their two million request backlog.

    1. I just found out today, that my BofA EDD card is closed, was told to call EDD for Fraud! I called, was told it was probably because I have moved in the last couple of weeks and changed my address. Was told there were no flags, and would try to release the block as soon as possible. This is seriously b.s., I totally get they are trying to protect themselves from fraud, but seriously? So I will see what it looks like tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

      1. My card was just closed to , they saying there’s nothing they can do about it !!! Did yours unlock today ?

  2. EDD already verified my identity and released my money, but BOA has yet to reactivate my account and post my payment. All the people that have true legitimate claims and got screwed over and have their account closed by BOA for no reason, should boycott or we should petition for EDD to drop BOA as the bank they use and get a better bank that can handle all this way better and will b more sensitive to us while we go thru this..instead of falsly accusing us of fraud , when they don’t even know anything about us and our situation..

    1. The worst bank on the planet! All the agents are fucked up morans ! they dont even know how to do their fucking job! I was scammed 3 weeks ago $1000. Had put a claim in but haven’t seen my money as of yet! They don’t give a fuck that we are unemployed and we solely rely on this little money!
      The agents at b of a are shady when you talk to them on the phone ! I wonder if its their doing stealing our money or edd agents where one person told me that when you call edd you might have reached a fraudulent phone number who will ask you all kinds of personal questions ! I know thats true because I remmember calling before I loose this money and the agent was very suspicious over the telephone she was not well aware of the pandamic benefit amount which I had called about !that raised a red flag in my mind and few says later this happened to me !! I hate this fucking state and I hate this fucking b of a ! I am so angry
      I am thinking of taking the bank to court and sue their fucking ass for insane amount of money for putting me and probably so many others through this by not protecting me and my money ! If anyone has a same situation lets hook up ! We can bring a class action lawsuit against b of a ! Or possibly edd as well !
      Talked to my lawyer he is a super lawyer ! He has never lost a case!

      1. Yes, your description is exactly how I feel. $1000 lost 3weeks ago &more thereafter & BofA protocol has caused me much distress. I would like your contact info or the super lawyer you are talking about so I may join this action against BofA debit card forced upon us by EDD.

      2. Righhhht! I’m so annoyed I was on wait for 2 hours!!! Asking all these personal questions to and they couldn’t find my account. She then eventually hung up on me . I lost $1715!!!!

      3. Yes, I’d sure like to join in against class action lawsuit against BofA. I also put a claim in but am speechless because they wrote to tell me they have closed the case!!! I am in loss of $3000.

      4. I am interested in joining your lawsuit against B of A. The same has happened to me, money stolen from my account. I’ve called 6 times each waiting 2-3 hours. I’ve put in a claim and it got denied and now have repealed. How can I get in contact with you?

  3. On hold now for 2hours! many unknown charges on my card!! Had it shut down 4 days ago yet 2 days ago has charges!! What the HELL!!

    1. Does anyone have knowledge of a class action lawsuit so we can get BofA to fess up on how much money they took from people?

  4. I also would like to join a class action lawsuit, I had $672 charges on my Edd debit card from NEIMAN MARCUS…never made that purchase, filed a claim, boa doesn’t care won’t refund and have nothing to survive off of. I don’t know what to do, or how to get my much needed funds back PLEASE HELP I AM SO D

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