Unemployment fraud so ‘widespread’ it even happened to DeWine and Husted

Coronavirus pandemic has led to record jobless claims

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said Tuesday that they each received notice that unemployment claims had been made in their names — an indication that the fraud is widespread.

“A few weeks ago, Fran and I got some correspondence from the state of Ohio that we had filed an unemployment claim,” DeWine said. “So, we know that this is widespread. We weren’t exactly sure what anyone was trying to accomplish there with us. But we know there has been a lot of these.”

Husted added: “I had a false claim filed in my name as well. I will tell you, though, we are trying to track down that exact number (of fraudulent claims.) We’ve made that request.”

Husted said preliminary discussions show it’s a “pretty big number.”

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services spokesman Tom Betti said “We’re expecting tens of thousands.”

The rampant fraud makes getting jobless checks out to legitimate people more difficult, Husted said.

The coronavirus pandemic forced the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to deal almost overnight with record-high unemployment claims.

This month, Ohio JFS is sending tax forms to 1.7 million Ohioans so they can report their jobless benefits on their income tax returns. But department officials said many of those receiving the forms likely had fraudulent claims made in their names.

Ohioans are asked to report these instances of identity theft at a new online portal: https://unemploymenthelp.ohio.gov/ Steps to take after it happens are listed on the webpage, Betti said.

State officials also recommend that Ohioans also check their credit reports to see if they’re are victims of identity theft: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action

Identity theft is a widespread problem. The Ohio Attorney General’s office offers tips on how to protect against it and address it if it has already happened: https://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/IdentityTheft

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.

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