Alert! What to do if Identity Theft Hits You

To: OAPSE Members
From: Executive Joe Rugola
Date: February 22, 2021
Re: Identity Theft on the Rise in Ohio — What to Do if it hits You!

Tens of thousands of Ohioans — including OAPSE members and staff — have been impacted by a new scheme to defraud the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services and the unemployment benefit system. This is serious, but there are steps you can take to protect your credit and stop the thieves from getting benefits.

I asked OAPSE General Counsel Robert Walter to put together recommendations for what to do if you are impacted by the unemployment fraud. See his thoughts below. Please share widely with coworkers, friends and family.

And, as always, stay safe and well.


News agencies have reported that fraudulent claims for unemployment are being filed at an alarming rate. It is so widespread that fraudulent claims are reported to have been filed in the names of the Governor and his wife and the Lieutenant Governor.

Below are links to an article in the Columbus Dispatch and stories on WKYC.


Members need to be aware that their identities can be stolen. For example, a member may receive a form indicating that he or she filed for unemployment when the member did not. That form may contain the member’s social security number or a temporary PIN to access the claim. A member may receive a 1099-G tax form stating that the member received unemployment when the member did not.

If a member believes his or her information has been used to file a fraudulent claim, that should be reported to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services at or call the Department’s toll free number (833) 658-0394 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday).

Separate from reporting identity theft to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, members can check their own credit report to see if fraudulent activity exists.

According to the Federal Trade Commission website ( individuals are entitled to one free copy of the individual’s credit report every twelve months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies (Equifax: 800-525-6285 or; Experian: 888-397-3742 or ; TransUnion: 800-680-7289 or The FTC website states the individual can order the reports online from, the only authorized website for free credit reports, or call 1-877-322-8228. Individuals will need to provide their name, address, social security number, and date of birth to verify identity. Also, through April 2021, everyone in the U.S. can get a free credit report each week from all three national credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) at