Fraudulent Unemployment Claims on the Rise in Illinois
According to the Illinois Department of Unemployment Security (IDES), fraudulent unemployment claims are on the rise. Many of you know someone who has been a victim of this scheme, or have been a victim yourself. The scammers use stolen names and social security numbers to file fraudulent unemployment claims. You may be notified by your employer or IDES that a claim has been filed on your behalf.
Here are some important tips to remember if you receive a fraudulent IDES claim or debit card in your name:
IMPORTANT — If you receive a debit card, do NOT use this debit card! Report this to IDES immediately and follow their instructions.
You may report the fraud to IDES online at https://www2.illinois.gov/ides/Pages/Report-Identity-Theft.aspx. If you submit a form online, you do not need to call IDES to report the fraud.
What happens after I report the identity theft to IDES?
If you submit the report of identity theft through this page, the associated claim will be shut down. If you need to call, please recognize that IDES is working through all calls placed to the agency. Please be patient in waiting for a callback. IDES systems sometimes generate multiple correspondences; if you receive IDES correspondence, keep them, as they provide useful information for the IDES representative during your callback. In most instances of fraud, IDES’ integrity measures stop the unemployment claim and prevent payments from being made before hearing from you.
If someone steals my identity and IDES pays benefits to the fraudster, am I responsible for paying back the money?
No. You will not need to pay back the money. Your employer won’t have to repay it either.
If someone steals my identity and uses my information to apply for unemployment benefits, can I still apply for benefits if I need to?
Yes. We’ll be able to distinguish your legitimate claim from a fraudulent one.
What if I reported the fraud but still received a letter stating that I must pay back an overpayment?
If you received a notice or letter from us saying you owe us money, we sent this notice of overpayment in error if you recently reported fraud, or have not applied for or received unemployment benefits recently. We’re so sorry for the anxiety this must have caused, and we want to reassure you that you do not owe any money as a result of a fraudulent claim. If you are a victim of fraud, you can ignore the overpayment notice. Our unemployment benefits computer system sends overpayment letters automatically when people really do need to repay benefits. Due to the massive number of fraudulent claims filed recently, the computer system sent many of these letters in error before we could stop them. We’re sorry you accidentally received one.
Will any funds paid on the fraudulent claim in my name be reported to the IRS as income?
No. Fraudulent funds are not reported as income to the IRS, and you will not receive a 1099 form from IDES if you report the fraud.
After you report to IDES that you were the victim of identity theft, go to the Federal Trade Commission and take these immediate steps to protect yourself from further acts of fraud.
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