Unemployment Insurance Fraud
and Identity Theft

During the COVID-19 pandemic, identity theft has been happening much more frequently, particularly via the filing of fraudulent unemployment benefit claims. Identity theft is when someone uses your personal information—such as your birth date and social security number—to commit fraud. The identity thief might use your personal information to pose as you and apply for credit in your name, access your bank accounts, file a tax return in order to intercept the refund, or even apply for government benefits, such as unemployment. This can cost you money, damage your credit rating, and require a great deal of time and effort to set right.

If you believe that someone has fraudulently filed for unemployment benefits using your information, you can report it to the State of Ohio here:


While you may not be able to eliminate the threat of identity theft entirely, you can reduce the risk of having your identity stolen. Some simple, common sense steps to protect yourself include the following:

  1. Safeguard your personal information; be wary of what information you give out and to whom; shred documents like bank statements, tax returns, and insurance records before disposing of them.
  2. Maintain good computer security procedures; use strong, unique passwords that you change frequently; consider investing in computer security software.
  3. Monitor your credit status by requesting a copy of your credit report at www.AnnualCreditReport.com. Normally, you can receive one free report every year from each of the three main credit reporting companies—Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union, but due to the pandemic, they are all allowing weekly reports as of the time of this being written.

If you believe you may have already been the victim of identity theft, visit www.IdentityTheft.gov. They’ll help you devise a step-by-step recovery plan to address the situation, including reporting the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission and placing an initial fraud alert with the credit reporting companies.

Other resources for information on identity theft include the following:

    Ohio Attorney General

    U.S. Department of Justice

    Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

    Federal Trade Commission

    Internal Revenue Service