Attorney General Kwame Raoul on Monday urged residents throughout Illinois to be on alert for identity theft related to unemployment insurance.
As tens of thousands of Illinois residents apply for unemployment insurance benefits, Raoul’s office is cautioning people to be alert for identity theft. In recent days, Raoul’s office has received dozens of complaints from individuals throughout the state who learned that someone applied for unemployment insurance benefits in their name.
According to Raoul (shown), several individuals contacted the Attorney General’s office after receiving unemployment insurance debit cards in the mail – despite not having applied for benefits. Attorney General Raoul is warning people who receive unsolicited debit cards in the mail that their personal or financial information may have been compromised. Raoul is urging these individuals to contact the Illinois Department of Employment Security at (800) 814-0513 to report receiving the unsolicited card and contact the Illinois Attorney General’s Office if they need information to take steps to guard against identity theft.
“People should be on the lookout for a letter approving them for unemployment benefits they never requested because it likely means that an identity thief applied for benefits using their name and Social Security number,” Raoul said. “I strongly encourage people to visit the Attorney General’s website or call my office’s toll-free hotline for help protecting themselves from identity theft.”
Raoul is urging consumers who think their personal or financial information has been compromised to take the following steps to protect themselves:
– Monitor your credit report. You can check your credit reports with Equifax, Experian and TransUnion for free once per week through April 2021 by visiting annualcreditreport.com.
– Consider requesting a fraud alert by contacting one of the three nationwide credit bureaus. Doing so places a flag on your credit reports for one year, which alerts potential credit grantors that they should request additional identification from someone applying for credit using your name.
– Consider placing a freeze on your credit report, which means that potential credit grantors will not be able to see your credit report unless you prove to them that you are yourself and not an identity thief. To obtain a freeze, consumers must contact each of the three credit reporting agencies individuals, and detailed instructions are available on the Attorney General’s website.
– Obtain your free credit reports from annualcreditreport.com. Report any unauthorized accounts or other inaccurate information to the credit reporting agencies immediately.
– Review all your financial accounts closely for accuracy, and dispute any unauthorized charges/debits immediately.
– Consider placing transaction alerts with your bank or financial institution. Doing so ensures you receive a notification from your bank when withdrawals above a pre-set dollar amount are made, allowing you to contact your financial institution to immediately dispute any unauthorized charges.
– Be vigilant for other unusual occurrences, such receiving other debit or credit cards in the mail or changes to your address or password for a financial account.
Additional information is available free of charge on the Illinois Attorney General’s website. Raoul also encourages residents to call his Identity Theft Hotline at 1 (866) 999-5630 for assistance and more information.