CHICAGO (WLS) -- An Illinois state lawmaker said people who receive an IDES debit card but did not apply for it should not cut it up as IDES recommends.
Illinois state Representative Anne Stava-Murray said she's absolutely horrified to hear that people who didn't apply for unemployment benefits are receiving debit cards in the mail, especially when so many people in Illinois truly need the money.
She said her office has heard from several people who have fallen victim to this unemployment fraud scheme.
Representative Stava-Murray said many of the people she spoke with said ides instructed them to cut the debit card up and throw it away. But she said people should not get rid of the cards.
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"So, we had been instructed by our IDES contact to tell people to cut up their card and throw it away but I'm really concerned that that advice may be destruction of evidence of a crime. Put it in a safe place, that way if anyone needs it down the line, they have it as evidence," she said
Representative Stava-Murray also urged people to report the fraud to their local police department.
"They are really the ones who have the competency in investigations and with all of the issues we've seen with IDES up until this moment, I don't have confidence in their office leading these investigations.
IDES disagrees with Representative Stava-Murray, saying people should destroy the debit cards if they didn't apply for unemployment to avoid accidentally spending money on the card. And IDES says people should contact their department to report it...IDES says you can report it to police if you feel comfortable doing so.
You can also report the fraud to the Illinois Attorney General's Office. The attorney general said if you received an IDES debit card but did not apply for one, you are likely a victim of fraud.
Attorney General's recommendations:
-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.
More information is available on the office's website and the Identity Theft Hotline at 1-866-999-5630.
IDES full statement: "Our recommendations are based on actual facts and procedures and designed to crack down on fraud and protect those who may be targets. If someone believes unemployment fraud is being committed, we encourage them to contact IDES at 800.814.0513. In the event an individual receives a debit card in the mail but did not file an unemployment claim, IDES encourages the individual to report this as fraud to the Department, not activate the card, and cut it up or destroy it in some way to avoid accidentally spending any money that may be on the card. Additionally, individuals should check their credit report for any suspicious activity, post a fraud alert, and are encouraged to contact their local law enforcement bodies if they feel comfortable doing so."
IL unemployment IDES debit cards: IL state rep. tells fraud victims not to destroy cards