If you have not received an unexpected unemployment benefits debit card in the mail, there is a chance you know someone who has already received one.
NBC 5 continues to hear from viewers who say their names are being used by strangers to file fraudulent unemployment claims with the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
As of early November, the IDES said more than 212,000 fraudulent claims have been made since March.
The cards may not have money pre-loaded, but an IDES spokesperson said fraudsters may try to access a victim’s account information in order to divert payments to another card.
Chris Kanich, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Illinois-Chicago, urges people to use strong and unique passwords to protect their identity online.
“The number one defense for this, especially if you feel like you have had your information stolen, put a freeze on your credit report at the three major credit reporting agencies,” Kanich said. “That will protect you in lots of other ways where someone opens a credit card or a car loan in your name.”
The IDES said unemployment fraud can be reported here.