As the effects of COVID-19 continue to have an impact on the job market, fraudsters are using this opportunity to steal identities in order to claim unemployment benefits. Many Ohioans have fallen victim to identity theft via fraudulent unemployment claims, with cases surging due to the additional benefits available from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance programs.
Here are three major signs that indicate you may have experienced unemployment fraud:
- You receive a letter in the mail from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services providing you with a pin to claim your unemployment benefits.
- The HR department at your place of work receives an unemployment claim for you when you’re still employed.
- You receive a 1099-G reporting unemployment compensation to you.
If you have experienced or suspect that you may have fallen victim to identity theft, it is crucial to act immediately. Mitigate damage and protect yourself from further harm by following the steps outlined by the state of Ohio here:
If you have received a 1099-G form for benefits that you did not apply for, file a report here: https://odjfs2.secure.force.com/OUIOFraudReportingPortal
Many resources are available for victims of identity theft to help them protect their identities. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services strongly urges anyone who suspects they may be a victim of identity theft to take appropriate action to protect themselves. Some resources they recommend include:
- Review your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com
- Ohio State Highway Patrol: When Identity Crime Strikes You
- Federal Trade Commission Resources at identitytheft.gov
- Place a free one-year fraud alert on your credit reports by contacting any one of the three nationwide credit reporting companies online or through their toll-free numbers. The bureau you contact must tell the other two.
Due to the additional unemployment benefits related to COVID-19, fraudsters are as active as ever looking for ways to take advantage of the situation. Follow the advice above to best protect yourself from falling victim to identity theft!