New hotline to help victims of unemployment identity theft
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) has established a new toll-free number for people to notify the agency if they believe their personal information was compromised and used to file a fraudulent unemployment claim: (833) 658-0394.
This number is staffed by 50 dedicated, cross-trained customer service representatives, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. One way victims have been discovering identity theft is by receiving an IRS 1099-G form for unemployment benefits that were never received.
The phone number complements a secure online portal ODJFS established last month to provide a direct way for victims to report identity theft. Individuals who believe their identity was stolen and used to file a fraudulent unemployment claim can visit unemployment.ohio.gov, click on the “Report Identity Theft” button and follow the guidance for individuals. This includes three steps: 1. Complete the reporting form, 2. File your taxes with IRS guidance, and 3. Protect your identity.
Identity theft is a widespread national challenge. Many Ohioans have become victims, and their identities used to file fraudulent unemployment claims in both the traditional unemployment and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance programs. Last month, ODJFS issued 1.7 million 1099-G tax forms to individuals in whose names unemployment benefits were paid in 2020. Many of those individuals were never paid unemployment benefits and did not know their identity had been compromised until they received a 1099-G form.
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