If you receive notification that someone has filed unemployment benefits under your name in Ohio, you are not alone. According to the local Sheriff's Department, "This is a widespread problem."
With people losing their jobs because of COVID and the overwhelming number of Unemployment Benefits applications, this is an easy access point for fraud scammers.
Below are the suggested steps by the Sheriff’s Department.
- Visit the state's unemployment website and file an identity theft report. https://unemploymenthelp.ohio.gov/
- Contact the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services at 866-272-0118. Callers should be prepared to hold for a long stretch, police warned. When you do speak to someone, tell them someone has filed for unemployment benefits using your name and personal information. They will flag your social security number and forward that information to their fraud division.
- Check your credit report with Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Check for any errors or fraudulent transactions. If you spot anything unusual, contact Avon police.
- Contact one of the credit bureaus and file a fraud report. They will flag your profile and that alert will last for one year.
- Place a freeze on your credit reports. You will need to establish a PIN to lift the freeze and apply for credit, but it will prevent others from using your information to secure credit.
- Check with the post office and ensure no changes have been made to your mailing address.
As you can see, steps 3, 4, & 5 can be helped by the Third Party Identity Theft Advocacy Companies (Cyber Protection Plus, IDTHEFT 911, etc) used by the Insurance Companies. These third-party companies are there to coach insureds in the process of restricting access to their credit info and helping discover improper uses of credit. Most Insurance Company’s Claims Departments just give the insureds the 800 numbers and they may not open a claims file. Neither the Third Party Vendors nor the Insurance Companies deal with the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services