A bill by Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, aiming to eradicate fraud related to the Employment Development Department passed the Senate Committee on Labor, Public Employees and Retirement with a unanimous vote Monday.
Senate Bill 58, introduced by Wilk and Melissa Hurtado, D-Sanger, would require the EDD to stop including full Social Security numbers on its correspondence.
This legislation stems from a 2019 state auditor’s recommendation that the EDD stop including Social Security numbers, a practice most government agencies and private companies have implemented because of fraud issues.
“It was shocking to learn that EDD still included full Social Security numbers on its correspondence, despite being warned by the state’s auditor in 2019 that this practice increases the risk of fraud. Now thousands of unemployed Californians find themselves victims of fraud when it all could have been avoided,” Wilk said in a prepared statement. “EDD can’t put the worms back in the can for the latest crop of victims, but we can sure force the agency to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
A group of California district attorneys reported the fraud associated with unemployment scams at EDD last fall, stating it could be “the most significant fraud on the taxpayers in California’s history.”
Last year, legislative offices began to receive calls from constituents about letters requesting personal information or unemployment debit cards arriving at incorrect addresses, and in some instances, as many as 40 letters addressed to different individuals would arrive at an address.