Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
Ohio, like the rest of the nation, dealt with unprecedented levels of unemployment claims—and unemployment fraud—over the course of the pandemic. This fraud impacted claimants and employers alike.
To date, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) has recovered nearly $400 million in fraudulently obtained benefits. But the sad reality is that we now live in a world where criminals see unemployment as an ongoing target.
It’s possible some individuals are only finding out now that their identity was compromised. Each year after Oct. 15 (the last tax-filing date for those who requested extensions), the IRS reconciles the information we send them with submitted tax forms. They may contact individuals who appear to have received benefits that they didn’t report – when in fact these individuals were the victims of identity theft. If this happens, and the benefits were paid from Ohio, we are encouraging individuals to file reports at our online fraud portal at unemploymenthelp.ohio.gov/IdentityTheft. That way, we can conduct an investigation and, if necessary, issue a corrected 1099-G form to the IRS.
To combat attempts to steal unemployment benefits, ODJFS has dramatically changed the way it addresses fraud. Cyber-defense efforts include a suite of anti-fraud measures, such as multi-factor authentication and enhanced ID-proofing. These steps have dramatically decreased fraudulent claim attempts.
Ohio businesses also have a role in combating unemployment fraud. Please respond timely to any correspondence you receive from ODJFS—particularly any “Request for Separation Information” notices you may receive. Responding timely to these notices, and writing "fraud/identity theft" on them, helps ODJFS more quickly investigate the claims and take appropriate action.
The most expedient way for employers to respond to “Request for Separation Information” forms is through their online accounts or by using the State Information Data Exchange System (SIDES) portal or SIDES E-Response, which is designed for employers and third-party administrators with fewer unemployment claims.
You can learn more about both SIDES and SIDES E-Response at https://jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/SIDES.stm or by watching this short video: https://www.odjfs.state.oh.us/tutorials/OUIO/SIDES/SIDES.mp4