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Escondido woman's EDD debit card drained by thief

Posted at 4:31 PM, Jun 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-08 20:54:42-04

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) - An Escondido woman says a thief stole a big portion of her unemployment benefits deposited into her EDD debit account.

Last year, before the pandemic, Melissa Session quit her job in the collections field to start a wash-and-fold delivery service, which never got off the ground because of COVID-19.

Unemployment benefits helped her survive.

“Definitely it was a lifeline … rent, car payment, food, everything,” said Session.

In April, she was finally able to open her business, but as she begins building a client base, her benefits remain a lifeline: some $1,400 dollars every two weeks, put on her EDD Bank of America debit card.

On Sunday morning, she got an email saying funds had been added.

On Monday morning, she went to her bank to withdraw the money.

“Panic and shock … I checked my balance, and I was like, wow, there is only 400-and-some-odd dollars. Someone took $1,000 from me,” said Session.

Session learned that right before her trip to the bank, someone had withdrawn $1,000 at a different branch in Escondido.

“Stressing out. How am I going to pay my car payment and my rent?” said Session.

Both her rent and car payment are now overdue. Session is not sure where her debit card became compromised, but she's not alone.

EDD cards were a big target for criminals during the pandemic. Last October, Bank of America cited suspicious activity in freezing 350,000 of the debit cards, which included accounts that were hacked.

Last week, as part of a lawsuit, a judge made several rulings, including an order for Bank of America to establish a toll-free number dedicated to the EDD fraud claims.

Session, who is appealing to Bank of America to restore the lost funds, hopes her story will help prevent others from joining the list of victims.

“Keep your card locked until you're actually standing in front of the ATM to pull out the money. Don't swipe it to buy anything, which I did here and there for tiny amounts,” said Session.

In a statement after the judge’s decision, a Bank of America spokesperson said, “ … we are committing to additional measures to help unemployment recipients who have been victimized by fraud receive their benefits as quickly as possible.”