If you’ve received a letter stating you filed for unemployment when you did not, you are one of the hundreds of thousands of people that are caught up in the IDES (Illinois Department of Unemployment Security) unemployment fraud happening right now.
Most people receive one or all of:
- A letter from IDES stating that you have filed for unemployment
- A letter from IDES detailing your unemployment benefits
- A debit card from a bank stating it contains your unemployment benefits money
- A call from your HR department asking why you filed for unemployment
Why Bother Doing Anything?
If you did NOT actually file for unemployment it is still essential that you report the incident as thoroughly as possible. The first reason is because this is identity fraud which needs to be reported in case your compromised information is used elsewhere. Also, if the unemployment was approved and payments were made (even if you didn’t receive anything), these payments could be reported to the IRS and they could show up on your income tax liability. Having the proper documentation could go a long way if you need to show why these payments were fraudulent so you don’t have to pay taxes on them.
So, What Should You Do Next?
The next step should be to call your local police department and file a report with them. Have any information you have received on hand to supply the officer with the necessary details. Usually, they will take down your information and call you back with the Case Number. WRITE DOWN the name of the detective and the Case Number.
Next, Call IDES
Again, have all of the paperwork you received in front of you. The number to call for IDES Fraud is 800-814-0513. Most likely, you will get a recording that tells you to leave your cell phone number and you will get a call back on that number. You may also receive a confirming text on your cell phone. It could take up to 3 weeks to get a returned call so do not call again.
When an IDES agent returns your call, give them all of the information you have, including the Case Number from your local police department. They will file a claim on your behalf stating you did not file for unemployment. WRITE DOWN the date you spoke to someone, that person’s name, & your claimant ID number.
Then, Send a Certified Letter
Although you may not be specifically told to do this, we would recommend you send a certified letter to IDES stating you did NOT file for unemployment and include all of the information you have obtained plus copies of any paperwork you received. COPY your letter & all attachments before sending and keep everything together, along with the certified letter receipt.
Here are some additional things you could do to report the Identity Theft as suggested in this article:
- Contact all three major credit reporting agencies to report the identity theft.
- Report unemployment fraud at illinois.gov/ides. Review bank accounts and notify institutions that have your financial information. Any funds deposited from unemployment must be paid back.
- Contact the Social Security Administration at gov/antifraudfacts/.
- Report the fraud at gov.
Because this is a changing process, these steps may NOT be all-inclusive of the steps you need to take but rather should act as a guide to help you along the process. We highly suggest:
- Document Everything
- Write down dates & times when you make AND receive calls
- Note the name of the person you speak to each time
- Keep ALL the paperwork you receive
- Keep COPIES of anything you mail, along with the mailing receipt(s)
We hope this helps you navigate what could be a complicated issue. As always, if you have any questions with legal matters, the team here at Churchill, Quinn, Richtman, & Hamilton is always ready to help. We are available to our Grayslake community & northern Illinois neighbors – contact us here: https://www.grayslakelaw.com/contact-us/