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New jobless claims mean new cases of unemployment fraud

Updated: Feb. 25, 2021 at 2:47 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A FOX19 NOW investigation has found that one out of every seven jobless claims that were filed nationwide last week was filed in Ohio.

Why? A massive amount of fraud.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported that 730,000 jobless claims were filed nationwide for the week ending Feb. 20. 101,895 of those were filed in Ohio. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services believes at least 29,000 of last week’s claims are fraudulent.

The month of January saw an average of 44,000 new claims filed each week in the state of Ohio but the first week of February saw a massive spike up to 140,444 claims.

The second week of February saw claims rise to 147,000. Last week there were 101,895 claims filed.

This graphic shows the trend of new unemployment claims filed in Ohio from January through...
This graphic shows the trend of new unemployment claims filed in Ohio from January through February.(WXIX)

Of the more than 389,000 claims filed in the month of February, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services believes at least 106,000 are fraudulent which is about one out of every four claims filed.

Of the more than 398,000 unemployment claims filed in February, the Ohio Department of Job and...
Of the more than 398,000 unemployment claims filed in February, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services believes at least 106,000 are fraudulent.(WXIX)

“It’s definitely something massive,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio David DeVillers said.

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio David DeVillers says unemployment fraud in Ohio...
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio David DeVillers says unemployment fraud in Ohio is "definitely something massive."(WXIX)

DeVillers is involved in the Department of Justice’s investigation into the fraud. He says the criminals are coming from everywhere.

“People are creating bank accounts, and your name, my name using the data that they’ve either, you know, bought off the black market, or they were able to fish and get from you somehow through some sort of scam,” DeVillers said. “And when that happens, they set up a bank account, they got your social security, date of birth, perhaps an address, and then it’s theirs.”

The Department of Justice is targeting those bank accounts.

“We’ve been able to freeze some stuff, and not going get into a lot of details because those investigations are still going on,” DeVillers said. “But I’m confident we’ll get some… we won’t get all that. We’ve made no arrests at this point”

He says the investigation to this point has revealed that if you are a victim of a fraudulent claim in Ohio, be prepared to become a victim in other states as well.

“There’s a market for your social security, date of birth, your information is on the markets all over the world, not just in the United States,” DeVillers said. “And that’s being monetized. That’s a commodity now. And just like you know, drugs, that’s a commodity and it’s being sold.”

If you believe you are a victim of fraud, click this link to learn about your options.

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