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Over half of the 1.4 million PUA claims in Ohio were flagged as fraudulent, Lt. Gov. Husted says

Gov. DeWine, wife said unemployment claims filed in their name
Posted at 3:50 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 15:50:00-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio — On Thursday, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced a new tool that allows Ohioans to report identity theft after they receive a notice that someone filed an unemployment claim in their name.

The new reporting tool is highlighted in red at the top of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services unemployment page. Husted recommended Ohioans click on the “ID Theft: What to Do” tab after they report the theft because any information someone uses to file fraudulent claims could affect other areas of a person's life.

Earlier in the week, Gov. Mike DeWine and Husted said someone tried to file unemployment claims in their names.

"Fran and I got some correspondence from the State of Ohio that we had filed an unemployment claim," DeWine said. "So now we know that this is widespread. We weren't sure exactly what, you know, what anyone was trying to accomplish there with us. But we know that there's been a lot of those [fraudulent claims.]

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Husted said 44,000 traditional unemployment claims filed out of a total of 1.7 million were flagged for potential fraud.

Within the federal government's Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program in Ohio, established to fund people who fall under 1099 status or are otherwise ineligible for traditional unemployment, there were 796,000 claims flagged out of the 1.4 million claims filed.

Husted said his office is tracking duplicate payments to protect Ohioans against fraudulent claims.

"It's made the job of getting the legitimate benefits out to people harder and doing everything that we can do to protect against, you know, losing any tax dollars out there to people who are filing false claims," Husted said.

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