A woman who applied for Maryland unemployment benefits received hundreds of voicemails and texts with the personal information of other applicants because of an apparent glitch in the system.
Julianne Pulvirenti’s phone starting ringing off the hook Friday with calls from other people looking for help from the state.
“I have people leaving messages and texts with their Social Security number, their email, their phone number, their address,” she said in disbelief later Friday.
Pulvirenti is unemployed after the Bethesda clothing store where she worked closed in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. She recently received a letter from the Maryland Department of Labor saying there was a problem with processing her claim. She called the department on Thursday but the line was busy every time.
She got through on Friday morning, and that’s where the trouble began.
“It prompted me to leave a message. So I left my name and my telephone number. I don’t think I’d even hung up when my phone started to ring,” Pulvirenti said.
She played the messages for News4.
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“I don’t know why when I dialed the unemployment number, your phone number came up,” one caller said.
Pulvirenti tweeted at the governor’s office and the labor department to report the problem. A labor department representative told her the problem with her claim was solved but did nothing about the calls and texts. Then, she contacted News4.
News4 contacted the governor’s office and explained the problem. By Friday evening, the labor department reported that the phone issue had been resolved and that Pulvirenti should not receive any other calls. No explanation on the cause of the problem was released.
Pulvirenti said she was happy to hear her phone go silent.