Rotterdam couple searches for answers after getting the wrong unemployment letters


CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Debbie Rosse says she has no idea who’s holding her name, address, and social security number and she’s terrified.

“I haven’t heard from anybody, so it’s out there somewhere floating around. With all the identity theft scams, it really makes me very, very upset,” Rosse explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.

Debbie and her husband Brian Brusgul are among those New Yorkers who got their unemployment determinations Saturday, but when they opened the envelopes, only the first half belonged to them. The second had information from complete strangers.

“The frustrating part to me was I wanted to reach out to unemployment and tell them what had happened,” Brusgul says.

He says he’s been calling and sending web messages to the Department of Labor since Saturday, but so far no response. The only person he has heard from is the person who got his letter. Brusgul says the woman had to rely on Google to track him down.

“The individual that contacted me said that she had heard that they supposedly had called everybody in regards to this problem. We have not received any calls or contact from New York State labor,” he says.

Governor Cuomo’s secretary Melissa DeRosa initially confirmed Monday only about three dozen people were affected by a clerical error that forced pages from separate unemployment packets to be stuck together. However, during Tuesday’s update, she admits the state has no idea how many people could actually have their identities in the hands of strangers. She also adds the potential effect could be every person who’s information passed through the affected machine the day of the error.

“We haven’t identified the specific number, they’re looking at that right now, but out of an abundance of caution, everyone whose forms were printed and mailed that day are going to receive free credit monitoring for an entire year and they’re having their claims prioritized,” DeRosa said during a press conference.

Brusgul and Rosse say they cant take advantage of the state’s offer until they can actually reach someone.

“We understand they’re very busy, but there has to be other alternatives,” Rosse says.

“Maybe set up a separate phone line for the people affected by this, I don’t know, but that would be my thought,” Brusgul chimes in.

They also hope the state considers changing the way they send out important documents.

“They have to realize that they cannot, in this day and age, they cannot put so full Social Security numbers on mailings. So change that, and move forward and keep up with the times, because there’s too much fraud out there,” Brusgul says.

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