Are you a victim of unemployment fraud or identity theft?
Hundreds of thousands of Ohioans have been affected by identity theft through the state unemployment system.
What happens is, someone applies for unemployment using your name. They then get money from the state unemployment office. This money comes from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS).
But ODJFS thinks the money is going to you.
Because unemployment benefits are considered income, this can create several issues for you:
- You may end up owing taxes on that money
- It can make you ineligible for unemployment benefits in the future
- You may be told you have to pay the money back
- It can affect your Medicaid eligibility
- It can affect any public benefits programs you use, such as cash assistance, food stamps, and more
- It may impact your housing, if you receive a housing voucher or live in a subsidized housing complex
- It can affect some social security benefits
Here’s how you can tell if your identity was stolen:
- You may get a 2020 1099G tax form with incorrect information on it
- You may get a U.S. Bank ReliaCard unexpectedly
- You may get a temporary PIN for unemployment that you weren’t expecting
- You may get an email about unemployment that you weren’t expecting
- Your employer may tell you that someone applied for benefits in your name
- If you aren't sure if you were affected, call (833) 658-0394 to find out
If your identity was stolen, you need to report it so you can get paperwork showing your correct income. After you report it, you will get a receipt. Keep that receipt, so you can show it to the IRS and other agencies. Report it online here. If you don't have internet access and need to report that you're a victim of fraud, call Legal Aid.
As a victim of fraud, you have a right to protect yourself against these things. If you are denied or lose any benefits, contact us so we can help. You can apply online 24/7 at www.communitylegalaid.org/apply or by calling our HelpLine.