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Posted on: October 23, 2020

Protect Yourself from Unemployment Scams

Scam Alert

The Northbrook Police Department has seen an increase in unemployment scams and warns residents to be cautious. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a spike in imposters filing claims for unemployment benefits with the names and personal information of people who have not filed claims, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). 

IDES states that an individual who has not filed an unemployment claim but has received a debit card or an unemployment insurance (UI) filing letter in the mail has most likely been the target of fraud. If this happens to you, it means someone is using your personal information without permission, including your Social Security number, which was likely exposed in a prior cyber hack or data breach, such as the Equifax breach. IDES is working with local and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate, pursue, and prosecute those who are defrauding the unemployment insurance system.  

Here are some tips to protect yourself:

  1. Be wary of telephone calls and text messages, letters, websites, or emails that require you to provide your personal information or other sensitive information, especially birth dates and Social Security numbers.
  2. Avoid phishing scams and be cautious of emails with attachments and embedded links, especially from an unknown sender.
  3. Monitor your bank accounts on a regular basis.

If you think you’ve become a victim of identity theft related to fraudulent unemployment insurance claims, here are a few steps to take:

  1. Immediately call IDES at 800-814-0513.
  2. Do not activate the debit card that was mailed to you.
  3. Report the fraud to your employer, your state unemployment benefits agency, and the IRS.
  4. File a police report with the Northbrook Police Department via the non-emergency telephone number, 847-564-2060 (ext. 0), or by coming to the Northbrook Police Department.
  5. Visit identitytheft.gov to report the fraud to the FTC and get help with the next important recovery steps, like placing a fraud alert on your credit reports. 
  6. Review your credit reports often to spot any new fraud quickly. 

Learn more about these scams and how to prevent them from the FTC and FBI.

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