Identity thieves are trying to capitalize on the pandemic’s impact by filing unemployment claims in peoples’ names, the Illinois Department of Employment Security said.
But you don’t have to be unemployed to be a victim.
Julie Yusim, who serves as the director of the Wilmette-Kenilworth Chamber of Commerce, said she received an official-looking letter that showed someone used her name to apply for unemployment benefits.
The letter included Yusim’s social security number and salary information.
“It was extremely alarming. I wasn’t sure what to do. I had to think about this both as the director and sole employee of the organization and as myself as an individual,” Yusim said. “How am I going to protect my identity?”
Unemployment fraud is the top complaint to NBC 5 Responds.
Some people may even receive an unexpected debit card in the mail associated with the fraudulent claim. Although, IDES said the card may not have money pre-loaded.
A spokesperson for IDES said fraudsters may try to access a victim’s account information in order to divert payments to another card.
The IDES said it is processing a large number of fraud complaints. The IDES said it urges people to proactively manage their account, including selecting unique passwords, and taking steps to secure their privacy.
If you think you have been victimized, IDES asks that you visit the agency’s website or contact the agency at (800) 814-0513 to file a report.
IDES said it will investigate the report and forward findings to law enforcement.