Businesses have seen an increasing number of fraudulent unemployment claims, including claims made on behalf of individuals that are still currently employed with the company and individuals that were never employed at the company in the first place. In fact, more than half of Ohio’s 1.4 million Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits claims have been flagged as potentially fraudulent by Lt. Governor Jon Husted as of January 21, 2021.1

The Ohio Department of Jobs & Family Services (ODJFS) conducts verification of unemployment claims by sending claimant’s purported former employer a Request to Employer for Separation Information (RSI) about the claimant’s employment status. If employers believe they have fallen victim to a fraudulent claim for unemployment benefits, they should take the following steps:

  1. Respond to the ODJFS’s RSI within 10 business days confirming the lack of eligibility of a claim by stating that the claim is fraudulent. Send the completed RSI form by fax to the ODJFS at 1-614-752-4808, by email to [email protected], or by U.S. mail to Benefit Payment Control, P.O. Box 1618, Columbus, OH 43219-1618; and
  2. Visit the ODJFS fraud page at www. jfs.ohio.gov/fraud, and click on the “Unemployment Insurance Claimant” button to complete the online fraud form.

If an employer does not discover the fraudulent claim or fails to timely report the unemployment claim as fraudulent, its employees may receive a check as a result of the fraudulent claim. If this happens, they should notify the employer immediately, return the check to ODJFS, and report the claim on the ODJFS fraud page. Moreover, the employee may receive a 1099 tax form for unemployment benefits, which will create an additional nuisance when the employee files taxes. As such, prompt attention to these matters by employers can mitigate any headaches later.