Scammers using debit cards in unemployment fraud

Better Call 4

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Hundreds of thousands of unemployment claims have been filed in Ohio since January, but the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) said many of them were flagged “under suspicion of fraud.”

Many Ohioans discover the fraud when they go to their mailbox and find a U.S. Bank ReliaCard, containing thousands of dollars in benefits they never applied for, like Susan.

“When I opened these, I was concerned,” Susan said.

She called Better Call 4, after four letters, all containing ReliaCards, were sent to her mother’s vacant home on the north side, all addressed to different people. She recently received three more.

“You could understand maybe one mismailing, but no,” Susan said.

She tried calling ODJFS.

“Couldn’t get through, couldn’t get through, so then I called Better Call 4,” Susan said.

ODJFS confirmed that the cards were the result of fraud — people using another person’s identity to file a claim, but the debit card ends up at the victim’s home because the address is associated with their information.

The card issuer, U.S. Bank, offered these steps as to what should be done if someone receives a ReliaCard in a stranger’s name:

  • Disregard the activation instructions. An attempt to access funds secured through fraudulent means exposes you to criminal prosecution.
  • Report it to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, either by phone at (833) 658-0394 or online.
  • Report the error to U.S. Bank.
  • Anyone who’s received a card for benefits that they did not apply for should destroy the card.

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