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'A selfie? Really?' | Id.me site used by NC DES to combat fraud causing delays, confusion

Some who desperately need and deserve their money tell the WCNC Defenders the verification website has been nothing but a nightmare.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — To prevent unemployment fraud, North Carolina is now requiring some applicants to verify their identity through a third-party site called Id.me.

But in some cases, the site is only causing more headaches for people

25 states are now using Id.me to combat fraud. But some who desperately need and deserve their money tell the WCNC Defenders the verification website has been nothing but a nightmare.

Meka Green said her initial reaction was skepticism when she was prompted to upload a photo of her face to the site.

"A selfie?" She said. "Really?"

And that wasn’t all the website asked for.

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"It takes you through all kinds of steps of you having to put in your id, your passport, driver's license, I'm like, this is new. What is this?” she said.

Green had been receiving unemployment benefits for several months when they stopped unexpectedly.

That’s when DES told her she needed to verify her identity using the Id.me site in order to keep getting paid.

"So I did it," she said, "I did all that. I did the face scan and everything, and it denied me. Now I'm locked out. They don't give you an explanation, there's nobody to speak to.”

Green said she’s still not getting paid, and now she’s worried about her information being compromised.

"The user is providing consent for their information to be shared in order to gain access to their benefits," said Pete Eskew, SVP of Public Sector for Id.me.

Eskew said their site is secure, and they never sell data to third parties.

To combat fraud, he says they use three main verification methods: Your government-id, compared to phone records associated with your name and address, compared to your social security number.

If those don’t match up like if you’re on someone else’s phone plan, or moved, it can cause delays.

“It's disproportionately impacting younger Americans or people that have not established credit records," Eskew said.

He added in those cases, it’ll take additional verification methods and more time. 

But more time is something Green says she doesn’t have.

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“I had a gigantic medical scare seven and a half months ago, [when] I stepped out my bathroom and I collapsed," Green recalled. "I had multiple blood clots on both lungs. I was having a pulmonary embolism. I literally was told, had they not brought you here, you would have died. So I try to stay away from stress as much as possible. So having to log on to a system when you can't get through is very stressful.”

NC DES confirmed to WCNC Charlotte that they would look into Green's case and said “DES is working closely with Id.me…to make the process as efficient as possible for claimants.”

Green says she knows she's not the only one having trouble with the website and hopes the issues are ironed out soon.

“They just tell you, this is what you have to do to get this done, and then when you do it, your results are still zero," she said. "It’s something wrong with the system and it’s just very disheartening.”

RELATED: US jobless claims plunge to 576,000, lowest since COVID-19 pandemic

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