Retired Chicago woman can't figure out why California's EDD approved her for benefits

ALSIP, Ill. -- Some people have trouble getting their EDD benefits. Others are being notified they're getting benefits and don't even understand how.

Janet Pierucci's story started with Best Buy one year ago.

The retired Chicago-area woman received an invoice from a location in San Francisco for $2,300.

The retailer billed her for five iPhones and a payment plan she didn't buy.

She immediately contacted Best Buy's fraud department.

RELATED: Easier to get Real ID or EDD benefits? This woman defies the odds

"They told me from what they could gather that my Social Security information was compromised and some other things, and what I needed to do," she said.

She followed Best Buy's advice by freezing her credit and filing a fraud report. Best Buy then zeroed out her account.

Unfortunately, this year she began receiving text messages from a number she didn't recognize, with various links.

She assumed the texts came from some scammer who wanted to infect her phone with a virus.

"So I deleted probably the first five or six, if not more. And then I finally started to notice that it progressively going on about unemployment," Pierucci told us.

RELATED: California man can't get benefits because EDD claims he's in prison

She looked into the texts further and discovered that California's EDD really did send them to her.

Pierucci feared the same thing that happened with Best Buy had happened again: someone had used her stolen identity to get EDD benefits.

She went onto EDD's website to file a fraud report. It's been months, but she still hasn't heard back.

Pierucci also tried calling 20 different phone numbers and spent some 50 hours on hold.

"I could not find out specifically if this was a phishing scheme or if I had actually been a victim of more identity theft," said Pierucci.

RELATED: Man loses all benefits after returning EDD overpayment

Pierucci asked 7 On Your Side for help, so we contacted the EDD, which suggested she file a fraud report online -- something she had already done.

"If you can only get a confirmation number and you don't even know," Pierucci said.

All this is symptomatic of a state agency extremely backed up with its caseload. The staff of Assemblymember David Chiu tells us it's taking an average of ten weeks for even them to get a response from the EDD.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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