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There are township residents falling victim to an unemployment benefits fraud scheme. With the current COVID-19 crisis, this form of identity theft is on the rise. While the Ohio Attorney General’s Office provides many services to help victims, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) determines the validity of unemployment benefit claims. The attorney general’s office offers this FAQ for pertinent information that can help:
Q: How do I know if someone has fraudulently filed for unemployment benefits in my name?
A: If you have received one or more of the following and you did not file for unemployment benefits in 2020, you may have had a fraudulent claim made in your name:
Q: What should I do if I receive one of the forms/notifications listed above?
A: You should follow these steps in order:
1. Contact ODJFS immediately.
2. Visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call 877-322-8228 to do so. A credit report will show all credit-related accounts open in your name, such as mortgages, credit cards and car loans. Credit reports are free through April 2021, and after that date, you are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the main three credit reporting agencies. On your report, look for accounts and inquiries that you do not recognize. If you find anything suspicious, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 800-282-0515 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.
3. Consider placing an Initial Fraud Alert on your credit report. A fraud alert makes it harder for an identity thief to open credit accounts in your name and lasts for one year. You need to contact only one of the credit agencies listed below to place the alert; the one you contact will share the information with the other two. There is no charge to place an Initial Fraud Alert. The agencies are: Experian: www.experian.com/fraud or (888) 397-3742 // Equifax: www.equifax.com or (800) 525-6285 // Transunion: www.transunion.com or (800) 680-7289.
4. Consider placing a permanent security freeze on your credit report. A Security Freeze will prevent others from opening credit in your name; such a freeze is free to place and is permanent. (You must pause or end it to open a new account.) Unlike an Initial Fraud Alert, for a Security Freeze, you must contact all three of the credit reporting agencies. Use the contact information listed above to do so.
Q: Can the Ohio Attorney General’s Office resolve my unemployment benefits claim?
A: Although the Ohio Attorney General’s Office provides many services to help victims of identity theft, the office cannot resolve unemployment benefits claims; only ODJFS can make an eligibility and/or fraud determination. However, if after checking your credit report, you find accounts that do not belong to you, you are encouraged to contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Identity Theft Unit: (800) 282-0515 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.
Q: Can the Ohio Attorney General help me with other tax-related issues, such as providing guidance on how to file my taxes in light of receiving a fraudulent 1099-G?
A: The Ohio Attorney General’s Office cannot help with filing taxes, but the following websites may be helpful: The state of Ohio answers tax questions on this webpage. The IRS answer tax questions on this webpage.
Q: How can I protect myself from identity theft moving forward?
A: There are many ways in which you can protect yourself from further identity theft: