ODJFS to Offer Free Credit Monitoring to Victims of Unemployment-Related ID Theft

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohioans who are victims of unemployment-related identity theft are eligible for one year of free credit monitoring, announced the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

“The unprecedented amount of claims filed and benefits distributed as a result of the pandemic unfortunately resulted in equally unprecedented fraud across the nation,” said ODJFS Director Matt Damschroder. “While we have no evidence any ODJFS system was breached, we are in a unique position to help those who were victimized by providing them with credit-monitoring tools.”

A common scheme across the country was for criminals to use personal information obtained through large-scale data breaches, often dating back years, to file claims using unsuspecting victims’ personal information such as name, address, and Social Security number.

ODJFS is notifying some 410,000 individuals who reported being the victim of such identity theft that they are eligible the free year of credit monitoring. Those who believe they were victims, but have not yet reported it, can do so at Unemployment.ohio.gov or by calling 833 658 0394. The services include identity theft monitoring, restoration and insurance.

The monitoring service is run through an existing state contract with IDX, a national provider of credit monitoring services. The cost for the program is estimated to be between $588,000 and $748,000, with the final amount depending on how many individuals enroll, according to ODJFS. The cost includes starting up and maintaining the service, notifying individuals of their eligibility, maintaining an enrollment website and contact center support.

Since the start of the pandemic, ODJFS has paid some $24 billion in claims to 2.4 million claimants. These include those eligible for traditional employment, as well as individuals such as gig-workers, who were eligible for the federal government’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. To date, ODJFS has identified $496 million in fraudulent overpayments.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.