OHIO – Are you currently collecting unemployment in the State of Ohio? If so, all those receiving benefits, in the process of establishing claims or awaiting funds to be deposited into their accounts are being urged to check their banking account information daily. As of this writing thousands of Ohioan’s have had their unemployment compensation stolen without even noticing the simple switch of their banking information taking place within their ODJFS account(s) or realizing that they were tricked via an email or text message that set the fraud in motion in the first place…
Phishing websites that look identical to the Ohio Unemployment website have been targeting virtually every single public cellphone number in the State of Ohio. These cellphone numbers are acquired through lists or accrued via bots that scrape Google and other search engines. These are then called “lists” which are then placed onto a server and automatically dispatched to receive SMS messages delivered processed by a datacenter located in Russia or China. If you’re reading this you could very well be a victim and not even know it. This article outlines one of the premier websites that is still online, what the scam text message looks like, what to do if you’ve been scammed, if you’re account information has been updated without your authorization and so on.
How this Scam Works
One of the websites, still in operation as of today is (DO NOT ENTER YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION ON THIS WEBSITE) https://ohio-gov.cn. In most cases individuals will receive a text message that says something to the effect of “Your unemployment benefit has been updated, please log-in to view.”
- Victim is sent a text message or an email with a fake link that looks identical to Ohio Unemployment’s.
- Victim enters their username and pin/password.
- Instead of being redirected to your account after entering your credentials you are forwarded to the actual Ohio Unemployment website.
- You then login again, not even realizing your information has now been stored and sent off to an unsuspecting criminal.
- The criminal receives your credentials and then logs into your account and updates your banking information to their own (as of right now it has primarily been a green-dot / goto bank)
- You patiently wait for your funds to arrive after the system shows that they have been paid/sent but they never arrive.
- Days or weeks pass and you call Unemployment, at this time you are then asked about your banking information and informed that you changed your information (albeit not to your knowledge).
- You are then offered zero recourse and cannot recoup your stolen income until the FBI finalizes their investigation (which it is highly unlikely that all funds or even a portion of them will be returned to you even after it is all said and done).
Did you log-in to the phishing website? Here’s what to do…
- Change your pin/password immediately.
- Change your banking information back to your own.
- Contact Ohio Unemployment and advise them of the unauthorized change and inform them that you have changed your credentials.
If funds have been sent to an account other than your own, read the segment below.
Defrauded? Here’s What to Do
If your account’s banking information has been changed and funds were deposited into an account not belonging to you, you are urged to contact your local FBI office and make a formal complaint with them.
- Contact your local FBI office.
- Contact Ohio Unemployment.
Ohio Unemployment Statement
“…if they do steal your money unemployment is not responsible.”
Readers Note: Scumbagged.com spoke with the Ohio Unemployment office at length regarding the ongoing situation and we were informed that the FBI is actively looking into the situation. Ohio Unemployment also advised us that they are not responsible for reimbursing any money that has been stolen as a result of this scam or any other.
“There have been thousands of incidents where people have gone in and changed peoples banking – it’s been unbelievable – they are doing it through text messages primarily and they also have a website that looks just like Ohio unemployment’s website, the people go in and enter their social and pin then they go into behind them and change their banking information. Someone just had $8,000 stolen right before we spoke with you. They had access to her account for weeks and waited until she had lots of weeks piled up for a larger payout before they switched her information. If you can go into your portal, check payment preferences. Check every day, if they do steal your money unemployment is not responsible. Also, 3 ways to file, online, call or text.”
“There’s nothing that can be done, what you can do the FBI is involved, file a report with the FBI. Keep eye on the banking. If it has been changed, don’t do anything and call us. What we’ve seen is that goto bank is green dot, prepaid debit card, the main goto.”
Visit the Ohio Unemployment’s website for more information on related scams: https://unemploymenthelp.ohio.gov/bewarescams/
COBRA Says: Another way to detect that your not on the right website is if your username and password isn’t automatically propagating into the fields. This means that it’s not matching the http header information for passwords stored into your keychains.
The Bottom Line
SCUMBAGGED Tip: Greed takes shape in all different ways. Unfortunately this scam is highly successful since individuals are eagerly (and unfortunately in many cases over a prolonged period of time) awaiting correspondence and updates on their accounts. As a result a simple text message alerting them that their information has updated is all it takes for them to rush to login and see if they have finally been approved or if their account has updated. Pay attention to everything, never assume you’re on the right website. Look at the website title, check your accounts, don’t give out your information and don’t even trust the agent you’re on the phone with since misinformation is everywhere at all times.
It is believed that this is possibly an inside job. Apparently bank accounts are being changed right before the checks are deposited and then changed back once the checks has cleared. The FBI and state authorities are investigating. Many of the changes are to Metabank.