Instances of identity theft are on the rise, and fake unemployment claims are one way scammers are leaching money from state governments. They’re stealing people’s names in hopes their forged claims make it through the cracks in the system, and some identity thieves are getting especially creative to get what they want. Michael Haddock, an attorney in Saugatuck, Michigan, was surprised to find an identity thief was targeting a close family member—his dog.
Ryder, a spunky German Shepherd, is known to get into mischief every now and then. He’s always forgiven, but a letter Haddock received in the mail said Ryder’s antics recently got him laid off from his job at a Michigan seafood restaurant. As a result of his recent firing, he qualified to receive $360 every week in unemployment benefits.
Haddock told WZZM13 he was going through his mail at his office when he noticed an envelope from the State of Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency. When he opened it up, he found a letter addressed to “Michael Ryder.”. He said,
“I got a letter from the UIA on Saturday, my name is Michael, my dog is Ryder. I was surprised to see it, but I had a good laugh, actually.”
It’s unknown whether there actually is a real person named Michael Ryder who got laid off from their restaurant job, but it seems to be too much of a coincidence. Haddock reported the incident to the UIA, and while they did send the initial letter, the claim was later flagged as suspicious. Haddock wrote on Facebook,
“I knew he [Ryder] was clever, but he surprised me on this one.”
UIA reports show a recent uptick in fraudulent claims, and on Tuesday they announced the creation of a special unit to investigate the situation and identify the scammers before money is doled out.
Ryder’s claim has since been denied, and the dog will have to muddle through his unemployment without that $360. But Haddock isn’t worried. There’s no knowing what Ryder would spend his easily-earned money on, and he gets all the treats and attention he needs without a regular 9-5.
Feature image screenshot via WZZM13