Lawmakers call for cybersecurity investigation of fraudulent unemployment claims

Some of the victims whose identities have been stolen for fraudulent unemployment claims say they receive reimbursement notices from the state agency that handles these payments. Some Democratic lawmakers say they want this agency to focus its energy on how the fraud happened instead.

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 roughly $ 2.1 billion in claims fraudulent unemployment. Sobecki says the Ohio Department of Employment and Family Services needs to conduct a thorough cybersecurity investigation to determine how the fraud occurred and what needs to be done to prevent it again.

“I think we should take a break to continue hunting down the Ohioans until we can rectify our system and really find out, through the investigation, really what happened,” Sobecki said.

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

In a written statement, the ODJFS says an audit by Republican Auditor Keith Faber found the problem to be unusually high demand, staff shortages, an outdated claims processing system and four entirely new unemployment programs. that needed to be implemented immediately. But the agency did not respond directly to calls for a cybersecurity investigation into the case.

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