Unemployment fraud hotline available for Ohioans


MIAMI COUNTY — Law enforcement agencies across Ohio are fielding an increased number of fraudulent claims related to the IRS 1099-G form for unemployment.

According to Miami County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Steve Lord, Miami County residents who are reporting unemployment insurance fraud are provided the following information for their case:

• Call (800) 686-1555, Option 1

• Fax pertinent documentation to (614) 752-4808 — Include information such as case name, case address, case number if available, the date on any notices received, notice number or name of the notice, and any other important documents.

• Go to JFS.Ohio.gov/Fraud to fill out the online complaint form

Lord also said residents can protect their identity by checking with credit bureaus and credit reports and its information is included on the sheet provided by deputies.

Another piece of advice from the Miami County Sheriff’s Office is if you have received a “Reliacard” or a credit card from a bank, do not activate the card. Call the number on the back of the cards to contact the bank and cancel the card account.

According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), the department has recently established a new toll-free number for individuals to notify the agency if they believe their personal information was compromised and used to file fraudulent unemployment claims at (833) 658-0394.

This number is staffed by 50 cross-trained customer service representatives, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-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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