In response to the COVID 19 pandemic, unemployment benefit claims are on the rise. In Illinois alone, tens of thousands have applied for much needed assistance. But along with those legitimate filings, there has also been a surge in fraudulent claims.
Unsolicited, pre-paid IDES debit cards (most notably from Key Bank) are arriving in the mailboxes of individuals who never requested benefits. The Illinois Attorney General himself received one!
So what should you do if you receive one of these cards or are notified by your employer that a claim was filed under your social security number?
- Don’t activate the debit card! There’s no such thing as a free lunch – and if you were to spend this money, you’d be responsible for repaying the government. Don’t contact Key Bank, and destroy the card.
- Report the fraud to IDES by calling 800-814-0513, selecting option 1 for claimants and then option 5 to report identity theft. You can also visit their websit here and use the Contact Form.
- File a Police Report with your local department.
- Check your Credit Report for other suspicious activity. You can request a free report at annualcreditreport.com and add a fraud alert.
Sadly this is a reminder that fraudsters will prey upon us at vulnerable times. Be extra cautious when providing non-public information. Learn more about How to Protect Yourself From Cyber Threats.
Karen L. Asbra, CFP®
Karen is a Senior Financial Advisor and Director of Operations at Rappaport Reiches Capital Management. Karen is a strategic partner to her clients, bringing discipline and clarity to achieving their goals. Please connect with Karen below. She loves to talk about investing, financial planning, and Broadway musicals.