Identity of WKMG News Officer Used to Collect Unemployment Benefits in Ohio
WKMG News 6 Deputy News Director Jason Olson is Central Florida’s latest known victim of a multi-million dollar scheme that uses stolen identities to steal unemployment benefits in all 50 states.
The seasoned reporter received a notice from the Ohio Department of Employment and Family dated August 2021 that the department was authorized to “waive reimbursement of unemployment overpayments.”
Ironically, the advisory was delivered to his home in central Florida, over 1,000 miles from Ohio.
“I haven’t lived in Ohio. My whole life was born and raised in central Florida, ”said Olson. “It’s really confusing that I’m married to a CPA, we’re very protective of our information.”
The Orlando Secret Service says it’s likely Olson’s name to be one of hundreds bought on the black market for pennies on the dollar.
Special Agent in Charge Caroline O’Brien Buster, who heads the agency’s Cyber-Task Force, has tracked millions of dollars in stolen taxpayer dollars obtained by international impostors.
“They’re buying it in blocks,” the veteran agent said. “This is an accumulation of information that has been obtained over the past 5-7 years.”
Bill Teets, director of communications for the Ohio JFS, told News 6 that the identity theft scheme “often occurs in the PUA system, where communications with applicants are all online. “
In an email to News 6, Teets wrote in part, “What is probably the case here is that some Florida residents are receiving a paper letter from us telling them how to request an overpayment waiver. . Since most correspondence was previously done via email, this may be the first time they know someone has used their name or address to file a complaint.
According to Teets, Ohio recently sent the overpayment letter to the addresses listed in the accounts where an UI overpayment was made. Someone who hasn’t been on Ohio State Unemployment Benefit shouldn’t worry about having to repay it.
However, you must report the theft to the state you are notified of so that the authorities can “report fraudulent claims”.
Here are the steps to follow:
First step: report identity theft to the ODJFS
Complete this secure online form. ODJFS will send confirmation emails to anyone who files a report with information about identity theft and protection. The agency will process the reports, perform
investigations and, if necessary, make corrections to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on the 1099 issued to victims.
Step two: Report the identity theft to the United States Department of Justice.
The United States Department of Labor recommends that victims of unemployment fraud notify not only their National Employment Office, but also the National Disaster Fraud Enforcement Center of the United States Department of Justice. It can help law enforcement stop future unemployed identity theft. Filing a report with the National Center for Disaster Fraud will also notify the Office of the Inspector General of the US Department of Labor, which is the primary agency responsible for investigating unemployment fraud. You may not receive a response after submitting this information.
Step three: protect your identity
There are many resources available to victims of identity theft to help them protect their identity. The ODJFS strongly urges anyone who suspects that they have been the victim of identity theft to take appropriate measures to protect themselves. Here are some resources we recommend:
Place a one-year free fraud alert on your credit reports by contacting one of the three national credit reporting companies online or through their toll-free numbers. The office you contact should notify the other two.
If you have received notice from OHIO, go to https://unemploymenthelp.ohio.gov/IdentityTheft/, an anti-fraud hotline has also been set up at: (833) 658-0394.
If you have an unemployment problem, email [email protected] or send the words Make Ends Meet to 407-676-7428.
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