Recently, there has been an increase in Identity Theft and misappropriated funds in the Unemployment agency, and every business, both in the government and the private sector, is coming down on these issues. It was both surprising and humorous when Michael Haddock received a letter in the mail for “Michael Ryder,” which was his actually his name, Michael, and his dog’s name Ryder, and the letter said he was entitled to unemployment benefits!
Michael Haddock lives in Saugatuck, Michigan and on Thursday, February 1, he received the letter for “Michael Ryder” from the State of Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency. Haddock opened the letter to find that the UIA had qualified his dog, Ryder, for $360 dollars a week or $1440 a month unemployment! He didn’t know what had happened, so he contacted the UIA and in the meantime, had a good laugh. He told KHOU that he didn’t know what Ryder was going to spend it on, but he was sure he’d think of something.
One can only wonder how many fraudulent claims are submitted to this agency every year trying to deceive the government out of money, but having a dog entered is not common at all. After Haddock reported the false identity, UIA reported to KHOU that the agency was seeing an increase in fraudulent claims, and they typically attribute a large percentage of these types of claims or “mistakes” to data breaches, which are occurring in the system more frequently. Ryder’s unemployment claim reported his last job was listed at a restaurant chain in Metro Detroit, and though Haddock said Ryder would make a great greeter, he told reporters that Ryder never worked there. Haddock then sent a letter to the restaurant to let them know of the claim.
Tim Kolar, State Administrator of Investigations, followed up on this unique claim entry for “man’s best friend” and found that the claim had been marked “suspicious” in the second stage of mailings. A second letter was sent to “Michael Ryder” at Michael Haddock’s address denying the eligibility of the claim.
In light of the situation, the UIA admitted that they got a laugh out of Ryder’s unemployment claim and Haddock’s story. In an email, Mr. Kolar said, “This claim and any other fraudulent claims will not be permitted.” Fortunately, Haddock reported the obvious mistake, the claim was caught, and the UIA canceled the fake claim after the first mailing, so no money was released.