Rep. Keicher: Be on alert for unemployment fraud, identity theft

In response to reports of a recent increase in fraudulent unemployment insurance claims that have been filed across Illinois, State Representative Jeff Keicher (R-Sycamore) is encouraging local residents to be on alert if they receive a mailing from the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and/or the Illinois Comptroller’s Office that could signal possible fraudulent activity.

“A number of NIU employees have recently been victims of identity theft that produced fraudulent unemployment claims,” Rep. Keicher said. “I want to help make everyone in our community aware of the increased risk of identity theft occurring at the present time, so that each of us can do what we are able to protect ourselves from falling prey to fraud and to respond quickly to any suspicious activity.”

If you receive any of the following, but have not applied for unemployment benefits through IDES, it is possible that you are a target for unemployment insurance fraud:

  • A debit card or direct deposit from IDES
  • An unemployment insurance (UI) finding letter from IDES
  • IRS correspondence regarding unreported unemployment benefits
  • Notice of State or Federal tax offset

If a fraudulent unemployment claim has been submitted using your identity, you should consider taking the following actions:

  1. Report the fraudulent activity by completing the contact form on the IDES website OR by calling IDES Benefits Payment Control Division at (800) 814-0513 and when prompted:
    1. Select the English or Spanish language option
    1. Select option 1 for claimants
    1. Select option 5 to report identity theft

(*Do NOT use both methods of reporting as it may cause delays in reviewing your case.)

  • File a police report with your local police department.
  • Have your credit report checked for other possible fraudulent activity and request a fraud alert.

In an incident that occurred in May 2020, an apparent major security breach involving a database operated by a contractor under the name of IDES is believed to have compromised the Social Security numbers of thousands of Illinois residents. In the wake of this and the continued failure of IDES to manage the influx of unemployment claims filed in the wake of COVID-19, the Governor appointed a new acting director of the agency back in July.

If you believe someone may have filed a fraudulent unemployment insurance claim using your information, please call the IDES benefits Payment Control Division at (800) 814-0513.