Resources Available for Victims of Unemployment Fraud

unemployment fraud resources GJMCases of unemployment fraud are rampant across the country, as criminals use stolen information to fraudulently file for unemployment benefits across many states, including Ohio. The explosion in fraud cases comes as many Americans impacted by the pandemic, have legitimately filed for unemployment benefits due to loss of employment or a cutback in hours. The fraudulent claims, however, are utilizing the personal information of people who have not lost their jobs and have not filed for unemployment.

In this article, we’ll tell you how to know you’re a victim, how you should report it to authorities, and what you can do to protect your personal information from identity thieves moving forward.

Red Flag: How to Know You’re a Victim

The U.S. Department of Labor says most people aren’t even aware they’re victims of unemployment identify theft until they receive a notice in the mail related to unemployment benefits they didn’t receive. The IRS form 1099-G is a tax form used to report unemployment benefits received. Your employer may also receive a notice requesting information about an unemployment claim in your name, even though you haven’t received any benefits and remain fully employed.

What Should You Do?

The U.S. Department of Labor has guidance for anyone affected by this widespread fraud. The IRS also offers good guidance.

Employee:

  1. Report the fraud to the state. The state will need to issue a corrected form 1099-G. Ohio and Michigan residents can use the links below:

Report Ohio fraud

Report Michigan fraud

  1. Tax Filing:
  • Only include income you actually received on your tax return. Don’t wait for your corrected 1099-G, if you haven’t received it. Do include legitimate unemployment benefits as income, as they are taxable.
  • If you’ve already filed your taxes, don’t file an amended return.
  • Watch for further information and guidance from the IRS.

Employer:

GJM Human Resources Manager Jeanne O’Riordon has assisted some GJM clients as they deal with unemployment benefit fraud affecting their employees. 

“As an employer I recommend you set up your online account with Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) and monitor your Correspondence Inbox for any notices of separation. The online account lets you see information faster than waiting to get it in the mail,” she says.

O’Riordon says as an employer you should report the ID theft online as well as the employee. It will help the state confirm that, indeed, a fraudulent claim has been filed. She says Ohio employees and employers should use this link to report fraudulent claims.

What Else Can You Do?

Check your credit. O’Riordon also suggests you place a free one-year fraud alert on your credit reports by contacting any one of the three nationwide credit reporting companies online or through their toll-free numbers. You’ll only have to make one call, as the bureau you contact must tell the other two. For further peace of mind, you can consider putting a freeze on your credit.

You can also report the fraud to the National Center for Disaster Fraud, which helps police stop future unemployment ID theft.

While it is an inconvenience, and a certainly a real concern that so much unemployment fraud is taking place, with a few steps you’ll be on your way to notifying the right authorities what happened to you, and hopefully protecting yourself from any potential future fraud.

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory, healthcare management and outsourced accounting. The firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities.

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