Protect Your Personal Information
As the world continues to change and evolve, so do the countless ways for scammers and fraudsters to steal personal information. Unemployment has remained an issue for many and it seems to be the new target for many fraudsters. In Ohio, “more than 44,000 of the new claims [140,444] were flagged under suspicion of fraud.” This was the largest case of new unemployment claims since the start of the pandemic. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is working to investigate all cases now.
What Does This Mean for You?
We have put together a list with some helpful tips to stay on top of your private, personal information. If you have been a victim of fraud where your personal information has been compromised. The following are important steps in protecting your identity and incorporate the guidance of our federal and state government.
- False unemployment claim
- Identity theft
- Online access stolen or breached
- Check washing
- or any other breach to your personal financial information
Step One: Protect yourself
- Contact your financial institutions (banks, investment account custodians, etc.) to add a fraud alert to your account(s). If you use online access for these accounts, turn on and manage the account alerts to receive immediate notifications when there is activity on your account.
- Charles Schwab: https://www.schwab.com/schwabsafe
- Establish a security freeze with the 3 credit bureaus for free. A security freeze can prevent access to your credit and making it unavailable for new credit to be established in your name. If you are a victim of fraud (identity theft, false unemployment claims, check washing), you will have the option to add a 1- year fraud alert to your credit for free. A security freeze is also a good step to put in place before a fraudulent incident occurs.
- Equifax: 800-525-6285
- Experian: 888-397-3742
- Trans Union: 800-680-7289
- Register with a credit monitoring service if you do not want to monitor your own credit. These services will charge you an ongoing fee but eliminate you having to manage timely review of your credit .
Step Two: Report the fraud
- All fraudulent incidents
- Report the incident to identitytheft.gov which is managed by the Federal Trade Commission
- Report incident to your local government OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/IdentityTheft
- Contact the local police department and file a report (when possible)
- If you received a fraudulent unemployment claim letter or a 1099-G reporting payment of unemployment benefits you did not receive
- Contact your state unemployment division to report the fraudulent claim.
- For Ohio Department of Job and Family Services – Complete this secure online form. ODJFS will issue confirmation emails to everyone who files a report with information about identity theft and protection. The agency will process the reports, conduct investigations and, if necessary, issue corrections to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on 1099s issued to victims.
Step Three: Ongoing Protection
- Review your credit report regularly using one of the online services or at AnnualCreditReport.com or 1-877-322-8228.
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