Breach within Ohio Department of Job and Family Services inadvertently exposed private data

Updated: May. 20, 2020 at 6:21 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The widely criticized unemployment office took another blow Wednesday when it announced that PUA applicants’ personal information in the pandemic unemployment assistance program may have been compromised.

Many applicants were already irritated, as they are still waiting to receive any money from PUA. Now, this breach takes their frustration to another level.

ODJFS sent out a brief release about the data breach.

But 19 News investigators also obtained the email the office sent to applicants who may have been compromised. It gives more information about what happened.

Laura Hartman and Autumn Merritt are both Northeast Ohio bartenders who applied for PUA.

“It’s been a nightmare,” Merritt said.

They are just a couple of the thousands of people who received the email about personal information that may have been accidentally shared.

“It was alarming,” Hartman said.

The email says ODJFS realized over the weekend that some applicants could see other claimants’ social security numbers, addresses and unemployment claim receipts.

“Everything about me is in that application,” Hartman said.

ODJFS says at least two dozen claimants were able to see information that wasn’t meant for them.

Merit says that’s especially frustrating, considering why she’s still waiting for money to come through.

“It’s pending an identity verification,” she said. “So you’re trying to verify who I am, but now you’re telling me that my information might be out there for anyone?”

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) said Wednesday that there is there is no evidence of any widespread data compromise for individuals who had their personal information exposed.

Deloitte Consulting is currently under contract with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) to develop the system to administer the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

Deloitte is offering credit monitoring to all PUA claimants for 12 months.

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