NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Jan. 27, 2022) – The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is offering a year of free credit monitoring to the victims of unemployment-related identity theft. Tuscarawas County JFS Director David Haverfield says it’s available to anyone who has had a fraudulent claim filed in their name through the state unemployment system.
“The department has issued some guidance that anybody who had an unemployment fraud will be provided with some identity protection services for a period of time to make sure that their identity isn’t further compromised in any way.”
The offering is in response to a large-scale breach of the unemployment system early in the pandemic that cost the state nearly a half-billion dollars. Haverfield isn’t sure how many people were affected in total but says the issue was so pervasive that even JFS workers were getting letters about benefits they never requested.
“The ones that I had seen, county employees, they just got a notice in the mail saying we’ve gotten your application for unemployment, and they said I’m working. I didn’t file one. So it was just a matter of following through with the process and making sure that was shut down.”
A credit monitoring company Ohio JFS contracted to provide the service will be reaching out to everyone who has reported a fraudulent claim to let them know they’re eligible for free identity theft protection. Haverfield doesn’t anticipate too many problems this tax season because of increased security measures the state has implemented but watch for a letter from JFS since statements for benefits paid out in 2021 are on the way. If you get one or did last year but haven’t come forward, visit unemployment.ohio.gov or call 1-833-658-0394.