SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio — Alex Long of Shaker Heights was left in disbelief after she was sent notices from the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services about 16 bogus federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance accounts using her home address that she never applied for.
Long said the accounts were filed using a series of fictitious names and have her concerned about how much of her personal information may have been compromised.
The notices were part of more than 2.5 million letters sent by ODJFS to let residents know their PUA benefits have ended. It's an employment system the agency reported had a 31% fraud rate back in Feb. 2021, resulting in millions of dollars being sent to con artists.
“Sixteen total and they all just came in the past week," Long said. "We got the first three on Monday and we got the last six on Saturday. It’s definitely a little unsettling, I don’t know why our address, in particular, is being used so many times.”
“But I would imagine that yes it’s just more than just our address that had to be used.”
Kristi Hadgigeorge of Lakewood received three notices from ODJFS and said so far she's been unable to reach the agency by phone to report the bogus accounts listed under her address.
“Certainly I don’t want my address to be wrapped up in anything like this," Hadgigeorge said. “Receiving three of these at once with my address on it, and knowing there’s a lot of fraudulent claims.”
“I did do some due diligence, but it did take me some time after I received the letters. There’s an email and a phone number, I never got an answer, but I am continuing to try. I'm just wondering did this person receive anything using my information, and am I going to have repercussions from that.”
The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services wants residents to report the accounts they never asked for by calling its hotline at 833-658-0394 or by filing a report on its unemployment fraud website.
The agency reports it hopes to launch a new fraud reporting portal sometime in the next week to help residents more efficiently through the process.