In late April, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) released a warning regarding fraudulent websites designed and crafted to trick unsuspecting people into believing it is the actual state unemployment website. The websites were reportedly set up in order to steal personal information, in a practice called phishing, that fraudsters could use to acquire funds or take out credit cards in the victims name.
The addresses of these fake sites include unemployment-ohio-gov.com and ohio-gov.cn. Potential thieves have been sending out legitimate looking text messages and emails with the links included in an attempt to lure people to the fake websites.
ODJFS Interim Director Matt Damschroder stated in the press release,
“We know that individuals are receiving text messages and emails that link to these phony websites. It’s important to pay attention to know whether they are legitimate.”
According to an investigation by the State Attorney General’s Office, the website unemployment-ohio-gov.com is being hosted by Russian servers, using a Chinese domain name. The other website was discovered by customers and reported to ODJFS.
Ohioans looking to avoid becoming the victims of fraud should keep the following points in mind:
- Ignore all unsolicited text messages and never click on hyperlinks in emails or text messages that look suspicious.
- Log in each week to your account and review personal information such as physical address, email address, and banking information.
- Remember that ODJFS will not contact you to ask for your username or password.
Anyone who has received notice stating that there has been a change to their account information should reach out to ODJFS 833-658-0394. The agency will verify your identity and be able to assist in changing your PIN number as well as reporting the theft to law enforcement.