Chicago man receives Ohio unemployment tax form despite never living there

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A man in Chicago was surprised to receive an unemployment tax form from the state of Ohio. That's because he's never lived in Ohio and he hasn't filed for unemployment.

Manford Holmes sad he received a 1099-G form, which is sent to people who have filed for unemployment. He wants to know how this happened and what it will take to clear his name.

Holmes said he received the form in the mail from the state of Ohio.

"I've never lived in Ohio," he said. "I was frightened."

It's a form sent to people who've received unemployment benefits because the IRS requires benefits be reported as income. Manford believes someone filed for unemployment using his name and personal information.

"I felt like I had been violated," he said.

The ABC7 I-Team has heard from several people in Illinois who received a 1099-G form, but never applied for unemployment benefits.

"What I hadn't heard was people talking about another state and that really concerned me," Holmes said. "I'm hoping the you can help me to determine what steps I need to take to protect myself."

A Ohio Department of Job and Family Services spokesperson said that Manford is a victim of identity theft.

"Major data breaches we've seen over the last couple of years could be related to the massive amounts of identities being used to file fraudulent unemployment claims nationwide...We really need your help getting the word out on what people should do if they did not file for unemployment benefits and get a 1099 from us," the spokesperson said.

Fraud victims are urged to:

-Report the fraud to the state unemployment agency

-Request a revised 1099-G form showing you did not receive the benefits
-Protect your identity by reviewing your credit report and visiting identitytheft.gov

For this South Side man, it's a frustrating reality that's left him very uneasy.

"It's constantly on my mind. I guess the best word is paranoid," Holmes said. "I'm hoping that me getting this message out will help somebody else to be aware, because like I said, I never thought that this would happen to me."

Fraud victims are also encouraged to contact the attorney general's office in the state in which the form came from as well as placing a fraud alert on your credit reports by contacting one of the three credit agencies.
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