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Unemployment hacking hits the UAW

Updated: Jun. 22, 2021 at 10:49 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - More and more people are finding fraud connected to Ohio’s unemployment, and this time it’s happening to members of the UAW. Turns out money that some are supposed to be getting isn’t going where it’s supposed to.

The issues are not a long wait or a back up getting into the system. The claims are approved but the money is the issue -- someone is hacking accounts and getting that cash.

A layoff for auto workers is a common occurrence, coupled with the recent chip shortage, and there are more and more auto workers finding themselves looking to unemployment.

Some UAW workers at Local 1219 in Lima went that route only to find they were fraud victims. After their claim was approved, someone got into their accounts and changed the bank account information. It’s called account takeover.

“Our citizens, Ohioans, through no fault of their own they’re losing their livelihood here. The unemployment system is supposed to work for them,” said Ohio State Senator Teresa Fedor.

Senator Fedor, who sits on the Unemployment Compensation Modernization Council, was told about this incident. She was hopeful the fraud issues, which totaled more than $2 billion at the most recent reporting, were being handled.

“We have got to plug the holes in the dike of a very antiquated system. In fact, I don’t know why it was so insecure before,” said Fedor.

State leaders have said for months that Ohio’s system was never designed to handle the number of claims that came through during the COVID pandemic and thieves took advantage.

Fortunately, it appears these workers in Lima will be getting their money, but countless others may still be waiting or have given up. All this comes amid a third party company that’s supposed to be ironing out these issues.

“They have not done us any favors. In fact, we want to review their contract and see if we can claw back some money in this system that’s so flawed,” said Fedor.

Just this week, Senator Fedor sent a letter to the Ohio Attorney General and the State Auditor to try and establish a pattern of who’s committing this fraud. When that happens, Fedor hopes the FBI will take the case to hopefully stop this fraud for good.

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