PALOS HEIGHTS, IL — Palos Heights police have experienced an influx of complaints concerning residents receiving fraudulent unemployment debit cards even though they had never applied for benefits, police said in a news release.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits. According to news reports, in Illinois alone, approximately 1.45 million residents have filed unemployment claims due to the health crisis.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security confirmed its computer systems have been compromised to issue debit cards to people not presently receiving unemployment benefits. The data breech is part of a widespread scam that has permeated every state unemployment agency in the country.
Should you receive an unsolicited debit card:
Unauthorized use will require reimbursement of funds to the IDES.
Contact your local police department to immediately report this fraud.
You can also contact the IDES at (800) 244-5631 to report the unsolicited debit card.
Card recipients should be cautious if they are solicited from anyone concerning these cards.
Card recipients may want to place a credit freeze or fraud alert to prevent any additional identify theft from happening. The below credit bureaus are available to assist with credit breaches. Credit breaches need only to be reported to one credit bureau. Once initially reported, the breach will be reported to the other two bureaus.
Victims of these frauds face potential harm. The personal information collected by the scammers may be used to commit identity theft to file unemployment insurance claims. If you believe you have been the victim of one of these scams, immediately contact the Palos Heights Police Department for assistance.