Although the economy is being re-opened (some say at glacier speed) there are still many workers who have run to the end of their savings and need to draw unemployment benefits.

Benton and Franklin County Sheriff's and our police departments are warning citizens about the massive increase in unemployment benefit fraud, related to COVID-19.

With record numbers of persons trying to get benefits, local law enforcement and ESD (employment security department) officials are getting swamped with fraud cases.

Officials say in just the last week or so hundreds of cases have been reported in our region, where people go to obtain the benefits only to find somebody else used their ID to get the money.

Apparently this ID theft/fraud has grown to the point where law enforcement officials all over the state are issuing bulletins about it. And, whenever possible, Detectives are helping ESD investigate cases.

Franklin County and others say if you are such a victim, report it to ESD as well as your local law enforcement jurisdiction.

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