Due to the pandemic and current economic climate, unemployment insurance fraud is a growing area of concern. Many states have adopted an online unemployment filing process, which makes it easier for individuals to file legitimate claims but also opens the door for fraudulent claims. A recent data breach with the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) may have exacerbated the problem for Illinois taxpayers; however, this type of fraud is not limited to individuals in the state of Illinois. In this scheme to collect unemployment benefits, individuals’ names and Social Security Numbers are stolen and used to make claims for unemployment benefits.

Individuals who have not filed an unemployment claim and receive a debit card or unemployment insurance letter in the mail should contact their employer immediately to begin the process of protesting the claim. Swift action is necessary, as claims must be protested within a short window of time.

Additionally, if you receive a debit card or letter in the mail:

  • Call your state’s unemployment fraud hotline. Contact information for each state is available on the DOL website.
  • Do not activate the debit card that was mailed to you.
  • Monitor your credit report for suspicious activity, since your information has likely been part of a data breach.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

Additional resources:

FBI Press Release

If you have any questions, please contact your local Kemper CPA Group office.