(WYTV) – Ohio has been troubled by swindlers trying to get free unemployment benefits during the pandemic. The latest problem is people getting 1099-G tax forms or debit cards in the mailbox.
Thousands of Ohioans have been getting the tax forms, including Cindy Gorse in Warren. Hers said she got $2,588 worth of unemployment benefits last year.
“Pretty crazy but I find out there’s a lot of people it’s happened to,” she said.
Gorse never signed up for unemployment. She’s retired.
People receiving an unexpected form like this likely means they are a victim of identity theft or fraud.
“We’re deeply sorry that the criminal actions of those hoping to benefit from this pandemic emergency has caused hardship and anxiety for honest people,” said ODJFS Director Kim Henderson.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services issued 200,000 1099-G forms last year. Last month, the department issued 1.7 million.
“I’m not the only one. I’m not the only one but it just hurts me to my heart,” said 82-year-old Annette Walton, of Warren.
ODJFS has received more than 70,000 reports of identity theft on its website.
Gorse even got a ReliaCard providing debit card access to benefits. She canceled it.
“What’s their purpose? Because they send me the card, they’re not getting the money, so I really don’t understand what the purpose is,” Gorse said.
The state wants you to report if you get either a 1099-G or ReliaCard. They say it’s not a glitch in the system, it is fraud.
“We do know there is very likely international engagement,” Henderson said.
So what should you do if you get a 1099-G or ReliaCard in the mail? Go to unemployment.ohio.gov and click on the red button that says “Report Identity Theft.” All the information that you need to know is there.
Once you report it to ODJFS, they’ll look into it and if necessary, they’ll issue a correction to the IRS.