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State Sen. Ram Villivalam Alerts Residents to Unemployment Fraud Scam
CHICAGO, IL – Recent reports of identity theft and unemployment fraud have prompted State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) to urge anyone who may have been targeted to file a report.
“Using a global pandemic to take advantage of people is unethical and illegal,” Villivalam said. “If you think you’ve been a victim or target of fraudulent activity, report it immediately.”
Reports surfaced last week of individuals receiving KeyBank debit cards with an accompanying unemployment benefit letter despite never having applied for assistance. The Illinois Department of Employment Security suspects these mailings may be fraud attempts.
IDES currently believes they’re part of a nationwide fraud scheme targeting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program applicants.
IDES staff is currently working with individuals whose identities have or may have been compromised by a scammer. The department is also partnering with local and federal law enforcement to catch and prosecute the perpetrators.
“If you have received a debit card in the mail and have not applied for assistance, don’t activate the card. Call IDES immediately at 1-800-814-0531 to report potential identity theft,” Villivalam said. “We can’t let these scammers get away with their schemes while people are struggling to overcome the pandemic. I would also encourage anyone who has been targeted to check your credit reports for suspicious activity.”
When you have filed a report, the Illinois Attorney General is offering information and tips free of charge for those who think their personal and financial information may be at risk. For assistance, consult their Identity Theft Resource Guide<https://illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/Identity_Theft_Resource_Guide.pdf>or call the toll-free Identity Theft Hotline at 1-866-999-5630.
Victims of fraud are also encouraged to place a fraud alert through one of the three major credit bureaus should any suspicious activity be found. Individuals should visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website<https://www.ftc.gov/> for helpful tips on recognizing and reporting identity theft.