SAUGATUCK, Mich. – A Michigan man says he received a letter notifying him that the family dog had been approved for state unemployment benefits.
Michael Haddock joked to WZZM that his German shepherd Ryder is currently out of work, saying “I understand he was let go from his last position in Rochester Hills, Michigan.”
Haddock said he received a letter from Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency notifying him that a “Michael Ryder” was approved for $360 a week in benefits. The employer cited in the letter was a Detroit-area restaurant chain.
The Saugatuck father said he has no idea how scammers got his dog’s name, but, after calling UIA, Haddock says the agency’s system flagged the claim and sent a second letter denying the benefits.
State Administrator of Investigations Tim Kolar told WZZM in a statement:
“Unfortunately, Michael Ryder’s claim will not be allowed. I know first-hand it is rare for ‘man’s best friend’ to contribute financially to the household and that will continue in this instance.”
It’s not the first time that Michigan’s UIA has made headlines. The agency announced in August, 2017 that it would be reversing 44,000 jobless fraud cases and refunding $21M after its computer system mistakenly accused people of stealing unemployment monies.
Source: Fox 6 Now
On Tuesday, the Michigan UIA announced it was creating a special investigative unit, to handle the recent increase in fake claims. The agency hopes to catch the thieves before any money is doled out.
As for Haddock, he doesn’t know if “Michael Ryder” is even a real person. If it is, he says it is certainly a coincidence.
The UIA says its computer system did send out the initial letter to Haddock’s address. However, it was flagged as suspicious during the next step in the unemployment process. The agency has since sent another letter to Haddock’s address denying the claim. In light of the situation, the UIA says it got a laugh out of Ryder’s claim and Haddock’s story. In an email, the investigator says, “Unfortunately, Michael Ryder’s claim will not be allowed. I know first-hand it is rare for ‘man’s best friend’ to contribute financially to the household and that will continue in this instance,” says Tim Kolar, State Administrator of Investigations, UIA.
The agency has seen an increase recently in fraudulent claims and attributes much of it to the recent data breaches. Fortunately, in this case and many others, the claim was caught before any money was dispersed.