Ohio Democrats Want A Cybersecurity Investigation Into Fraudulent Jobless Claims

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — Some of the victims whose identities were stolen for fraudulent unemployment claims say they are getting notices to pay back that money from the state agency that handles those payments. Some Democratic lawmakers say they want that agency to focus its energy on figuring out how the fraud happened instead.

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services [Dan Konik | Statehouse News Bureau]
Democratic Representatives Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo) And Jeffrey Crossman (D-Parma) want more information on how the state’s unemployment system was hacked to allow an estimated $2.1 billion in fraudulent unemployment claims. Sobecki said the Ohio Dept of Job and Family Services needs to conduct a comprehensive cyber security investigation into how the fraud happened and what needs to be done to prevent it again.

“I think we should be taking a pause on continuing to hound Ohioans until we can get our system rectified and really find out, through the investigation, really what happened,” Sobecki said.

Sobecki said she gets mixed messages on what exactly is being done in terms of investigating the fraud. The legislation would urge Gov. DeWine to activate the Ohio Cyber Reserve to investigate the multiple reports of hacking in the state’s unemployment compensation network.

In a written statement, ODJFS said an audit by Republican Auditor Keith Faber showed the problem was unusually high demand, staffing shortages, an antiquated claims-processing system, and four entirely new unemployment programs that had to be implemented immediately. But the agency didn’t directly answer the calls for a cyber security investigation into the matter.