Out of work and can’t get benefits through ODJFS? Blame computer hack

SPRINGFIELD — People who are applying for jobless benefits have been experiencing a difficult time getting their monthly payments because an untold number of people have had their online accounts through the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services hacked.

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“Over the past two weeks, Ohio experienced an increased number of attempts to fraudulently access its unemployment system,” an ODJFS spokesperson told News Center 7′s Mike Campbell on Tuesday. “We have identified and addressed the issue which involves criminals accessing an individual’s accounts using fake credentials.”

The state is trying to help get victims back into their accounts, but agency officials admit it is a painstaking process as evidenced by their on-line warnings and their phone lines.

Josh Hamm, who lost his job in March and signed up for benefits, was receiving regular payments -- until two weeks ago.

He said he began to inquire about the stopped payments, “then started the daily hassle of trying to figure out how and why,” the Springfield resident said.

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When he could no longer log into his ODJFS account and called for help, he said it became obvious that thousands of other people were in the same circumstance.

During one call to ODJFS last week, Hamm said he was put on hold for more than five hours.

On a third day of dialing ODJFS, Hamm said, he finally got an agency representative on the line.

“She did notify me. I did get hacked, through unemployment. They got my information, my banking accounts, my Social Security number,” he said.

“It’s a little more frustrating,” Hamm said. “You think you should have trust in your state representatives. I think about single moms, single dads, depending on paychecks and have not received one.”

A spokesperson at ODJFS told News Center 7 that the agency does not yet have numbers on how many people this is affecting.

Hamm said he has been without two weeks of payments, but knows people that have missed six and even eight weeks of payments.

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