LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Several Las Vegas Valley residents said thousands of dollars of unemployment funds were hacked from accounts tied to their state-issued debit cards. The bank that manages the cards claims they are not the cause of the security issue.

The Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation provides debit cards for each person eligible for funds. Bank of America confirmed that four Valley residents became the victim of “phishing” attempts on their assigned debit cards.

The residents spoke to FOX5 over concerns of the security of the funds in their accounts, and say they no longer keep funds there for long. Bank of America claims the residents’ fraud cases were not related, and the cause of the security compromise is unknown.

After weeks and months of waiting to receive unemployment funds, several valley residents said the cyber thefts caused plenty of headaches and emotional distress.

“I was under a lot of stress. I was crying,” said Carlinda Ford, a mother who also cares for two foster children. More than $2,100 was taken from her account, and the source of the transaction was traced to Italy.

“We wait weeks for unemployment, and it gets ripped right from you,” said Brenda Bailey, who also had more than $2,100 taken from her account. The charges were traced to India, although Bailey said the card never left her home.

Dawn Kidwell also said strange charges appeared on her card. Cyber thieves bought, all through her account, sporting equipment in New Jersey.

“They knew everything-- my name, the card number, the three digit code. How did this happen?” Kidwell said. Kidwell questions the security of these cards, as she has banked with the company for years and never had these issues before.

Ford had funds returned to her after a week. When we contacted Bank of America, the company resolved Bailey's case and another viewer. 

Kidwell is still waiting for a full review of her case.  

Bank of America said the company never provides any person’s private information to anyone, and provides the same security service as typical banking accounts.

The company explained that Bank of America acts as an intermediary service between Nevada residents and DETR.

We asked DETR if it was concerned about the possibility of compromised information through Bank of America or even at DETR, or if it had heard similar accounts from Nevada residents with state-issued debit cards. The agency said it had "no comment" on the story or questions.

Bank of America provided the following advice for DETR-assigned debit card holders, to prevent fraud. 

Cardholders should frequently change their password, and avoid using the same password with multiple online accounts.

Users can call the number on the back of the card or visit https://prepaid.bankofamerica.com/nevadauidebitcard.

Cardholders can protect themselves from fraud on the Privacy and Security website: https://www.bankofamerica.com/privacy/overview.go. There’s also an “Avoid Fraud” section.

Users can also transfer funds to their personal accounts by visiting the home page of the website.

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(2) comments

SWLV

On the one and only time I was able to reach DETR call center rep in the last month I was advised that everything in my claim looked fine except "the system doesn't like your bank." I asked for more detail and she said she couldn't tell me but that there was a problem and I'd have to wait unless I switched payment methods to debit card. I wasn't comfortable with that and she made a comment to the effect of "you must not want your money then." Your story makes me rethink that conversation.

vegasdawn

Sisolak is responsible for this, and this is the party who does not think that mail in voting would be a problem.

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