Unemployment fraud cases are surging. The Westerville Police Department is taking multiple daily reports of cases where someone has fraudulently assumed another’s identity to collect unemployment benefits.

The Department says this is just another form of identity fraud/theft. The first and most important step is to take steps to protect your identity.

The Attorney General’s Office created this FAQ for victims of Unemployment Fraud.

This article from the Akron Beacon Journal (Jan. 31, 2021) explains the problem the state of Ohio is facing. The reporter provides the following steps:

One. Go to unemployment.ohio.gov where you will see two large red buttons on the top of the page. One will take you to more information about ID theft and resources, such as filing a local police report and letting the Ohio Attorney General know you’ve been a victim. The button on the left that says “Report Identity Theft” is important to fill out. This will notify ODJFS that you got a fraudulent 1099 so the agency can flag your case and re-issue you a new 1099 that says you did not receive unemployment income and send an updated form to the IRS. Read more.

Two. According to the Ohio Department of Taxation’s website, if you received a 1099 for unemployment benefits in error, “generally, you should not include unemployment benefits you did not apply for as income on your federal and state income tax returns.” The site also says not to file an Ohio ID theft affidavit with your Ohio tax return unless a fraudulent tax return was filed using your Social Security number. Also, “you do not need to have a determination from ODJFS on your ID theft claim or a corrected 1099-G to file your federal and state income tax returns.” The department does recommend getting the updated 1099 for your records. Go to tax.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/tax/ for more information. Read more.

Three. Take steps to protect your identity, including contacting the local police and attorney general. The state also suggests placing fraud alerts on your accounts. Go to unemploymenthelp.ohio.gov/IdentityTheft/. Read more.

Source: City of Westerville; Image by Robinraj Premchand from Pixabay

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