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03.22.21   |   COVID-19, Insights

An Epidemic within the Pandemic: The Continuing Flood of Fraudulent Unemployment Claims

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It’s been an ongoing problem since the beginning of the pandemic—a nationwide surge in the number of unemployment compensation claims that have been identified as potentially fraudulent. Ohio has been no exception, with over 127,000 claims flagged in the last month alone.

This means that a lot of Ohioans are likely victims of identity theft, and many may not even know about it until they receive a 1099 tax form or other documentation from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) related to jobless benefits.

So what actions should you take if you believe you have been a victim of unemployment fraud?

The first step is to report the fraud to ODJFS at:

https://secure.jfs.ohio.gov/feedback/ouc/ouc-fraud/index.stm

In addition, the following are actions that should be considered to prevent further fraudulent activity if your identity has been stolen:

  • File a report with the FTC: https://www.identitytheft.gov/
  • Monitor your credit regularly for the next few months by getting a credit report from each of the three credit bureaus. There are multiple ways to do this. One way is through this website:  https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action
  • File an online complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (iC3) https://www.ic3.gov/
  • Review your Social Security Statement to see if someone is using your Social Security number for employment at https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/
  • Contact your homeowner’s insurance provider to determine whether identity theft is covered. Some policies carry cyber/identity theft as a tag-along coverage.
  • Consider freezing your credit to prevent any credit accounts being opened with your Social Security number. If you freeze your credit, potential lenders would not be able to access your credit history and would then be unlikely to provide a line of credit to the identity thief, but you would need to unfreeze your credit each time you’d like to open a line of credit. This would require contacting each credit bureau either online or by phone at the location below. 

Equifax: Online or by phone at 1-800-685-1111

Experian: Online or by phone at 1-888-397-3742

TransUnion: Online or by phone at 1-888-909-8872

Please do not hesitate to reach out to your Critchfield attorney should you have any questions.

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