The Illinois Department of Employment Security has announced they are taking steps to crack down on fraud schemes involving the state’s federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) programs.

IDES has recently seen an increase in fraudulent unemployment claims involving the PUA program, which provides federally-funded unemployment benefits for individuals who were not traditionally covered by the state’s regular unemployment insurance program. IDES noted that under the PUA program, one of the biggest vulnerabilities they are seeing is the absence of an employer to contest fraudulent claims.

IDES has announced that they are working with local and federal authorities to investigate and prosecute those perpetrating unemployment fraud.

Any individual who has not filed an unemployment claim but has erroneously received an unemployment debit card or unemployment insurance (UI) finding letter should take the following steps:

Immediately call IDES at 800.814.0513 and when prompted:

  • Select the English or Spanish language option;
  • Select option 1 for claimants;
  • Select option 5 to report identity theft.

Do not activate the debit card that was mailed to you.

Have your credit report checked for possible suspicious activity and post a fraud alert.

Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website to learn helpful tips on recognizing and reporting identity theft.