BEWARE – Identity Theft Scams


It’s truly unfortunate that we are near the end of 2020; still dealing with the affects of a global pandemic, business establishments have closed, and the holidays are upon us…a time that should be happy, joyful and festive. And then to add the cherry on top…..unscrupulous individuals have managed to steal your identity to file for unemployment. And sadly, you are not alone. More than 212,000 fraudulent unemployment claims have been filed in Illinois. Experts say fraudsters typically file claims using personal data leaked from past data breaches like the 2017 Equifax breach, which exposed the Social Security numbers, birth dates and home addresses of up to 143 million Americans. Other past data breaches include Capitol One, Dubsmash and Google+. Regardless of the source, one thing is certain, the information attained is not from either the Fund Office or the Union’s data bases.

So what do you do?

If you reside in Illinois and are still employed with your Employer and you receive a letter from the Illinois Department of Employment Security, please open the letter and READ IT CAREFULLY. Identity thieves and hackers are actively committing unemployment insurance fraud. It is important for you to take the following steps to protect yourself:

  • Notify your Employer immediately and let them know that a claim for unemployment benefits has been filed in your name.
  • The IDES letter will outline the amount of unemployment benefits that you will be entitled to and the IDES will send a follow-up letter which will include a pre-loaded debit card with the unemployment benefits. DO NOT ACTIVATE THE DEBIT CARD AND DO NOT CONTACT KEYBANK.
  • You should contact IDES at (800) 814-0513 to report what you have received.
  • You can request a free credit report via and review your report for fraudulent activities.
  • You should contact your bank and your credit card companies and put them on notice and find out what additional steps you need to take to secure your accounts.
  • After you notify the IDES that you were a victim of identity theft, go to the Federal Trade Commission and take additional immediate steps to protect yourself from further acts of fraud.

Depending on your geographic location, you can find out more information by visiting the following websites:


Let’s start with seven tips on how you, as a senior, can help protect yourself from identity and financial fraud. It may pay to keep these in mind no matter what your age.

  • Hang up the phone – If someone calls asking for personal or financial information, do not feel obligated to provide it. It’s OK to hang up. If the person claims to be with your bank or credit card company, you can always call the number you have for them.
  • Type in the URL yourself ­– Don’t click on email links or open email attachments, even if the message appears to be from your bank or credit card company. Doing so may put your personal information or your computer at risk. If you’re inclined to visit the website, type in the URL that you have for the business.
  • Use direct deposit – Have Social Security and other benefit checks deposited directly into your bank account. This helps protect them from being stolen.
  • Be wary of family – Over 90 percent of all reported elder abuse is committed by the older person’s own family, most often by their adult children. Make sure those you trust are trustworthy.
  • Review your statements – It pays to regularly review your bank, credit card and other statements, looking for unfamiliar transactions. If you see something that doesn’t look right, call right away.
  • Shred documents – Bank statements, healthcare records, and other papers with personal information should be shredded before you discard them. Make it as difficult as you can for identity thieves to take advantage of you.

Typical identity theft scams targeting the elderly

The scams that identity thieves use to target seniors are similar to the ones used to target other victims. Among them:

Telephone scams
Identity thieves target seniors over the telephone, looking to gain their trust to gain personal and financial data that can be used to commit fraud. As noted above, thieves can pretend to be a person in authority to solicit information, and they may employ a sense of urgency that prompts the victim to move quickly, without taking time to think about the consequences.

Internet scams
Online con artists often “phish” for personal data through email, transmitting seemingly legitimate requests that claim information is needed by the senior victim’s bank, credit card, or mortgage company. The criminals may ask seniors to verify their financial data (like account numbers and Social Security numbers).

Bah Humbug to identity thieves and hackers!!!

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