Arlington Heights Residents and Residents Across Illinois Report Unrequested Debit Cards from Illinois Department of Employment Security

As many wait for unemployment benefits or the debits cards they need to access that money, it turns out some people are getting those cards in the mail when they never even applied for unemployment (Tara Molina, CBS 2 Chicago reports).

The Arlington Heights Police Department has taken multiple reports of residents receiving unrequested debit cards from the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). The IDES is the department of state government that administers state sanctioned unemployment benefits. Officials from IDES have received an influx of reports related to the mailing of unrequested debit cards. For these debit cards to be mailed, a claim was filed with the state for the collection of unemployment benefits. Presumably, the residents who received these cards have had their personal information compromised and used for the future collection of unemployment benefits.

If you or a family member have received an unrequested letter and debit card from the IDES, please call 911 to contact the Arlington Heights Police Department so a report can be generated and the information can be forwarded to the Illinois Department of Employment Security fraud department investigators.

As a reminder, do not provide any personal information, such as Social Security Numbers, banking information, or credit card information in response to receipt of this unrequested debit card.

Arlington Heights residents are not the only victims targeted in this fraud. Other reports have occurred in other Illinois cities, including Calumet City and Peoria.

A data breach that exposed Social Security numbers and other private information of 32,483 Illinois unemployment applicants was reported at IDES and in news releases in May 2020.

The Illinois breach became apparent on May 15 when state Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, notified Gov. J.B. Pritzker that one of her constituents was applying on the site and found a spreadsheet with the personal information, including Social Security Numbers of unemployment applicants. IDES issued a statement claiming that one person inadvertently accessed the private data and corrected the issue within an hour. The constituent, who wants to remain anonymous, stated the IDES statement is not true, and that the data was available on the IDES website through the weekend.

The IDES web portal built by Deloitte Consulting went live May 11, 2020, and allowed independent contractors and gig workers to file for the unemployment benefits the United States Congress made available March 27, 2020 through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Over 44,000 Illinoisans applied on May 11, 2020.

Initially, there is no confirmation whether the recent IDES debit card fraud, which may have begun as early as the last week in May 2020, is related to the May 15, 2020 data breach.

CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reports on a major data breach discovered by a person accessing the IDES and that person found pages of confidential information from IDES.



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