COLUMBUS, Ohio — Hundreds of millions of dollars in pandemic unemployment benefits have been obtained by fraudsters who have pocketed cash meant for hard-working Ohioans who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus epidemic, state officials said.
The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services that oversees the program said it has identified $330 million in benefits paid to fraudsters — many relying on identity theft.
Plus, the department has identified and stopped 100,000 fraudulent claims before any funds were disbursed.
ODJFS says it has not yet determined just how many used stolen identities to obtain funds but has found at least 56,000 payments have been made as of December 2020.
In addition, the agency says there have been 70,000 reports of identity theft to its secure web portal.