Unemployment Fraud FAQ's

Unemployment Fraud FAQ's

How did this happen? Were Wheaton’s systems breached?

We have consulted internal and external data security experts and have confirmed that Wheaton’s systems have not been compromised.  This is a national scam where the scammers are using data that likely originated from large third-party data breaches such as the Equifax or Target data breach.  This scheme has been well documented in the media as well as on government sites. If you are interested, found below are several articles related to this issue.




My wages are correct on the IDES notice.  How would someone filing the claim know this information?

On the notice form, the data in the quarterly wages section is provided by IDES records, not the imposter.  All employers are required to provide quarterly wage reports to IDES so the agency has updated wage information at all times.

What should I do if I have been a victim of this scheme?

More information as well as a list of recommendation action items is posted here

What steps should I take if I receive a debit card and did not file for unemployment insurance?

In this situation, IDES advises the following:

  • DO NOT activate the debit card that was mailed to you.
  • DO NOT contact KeyBank.
  • Destroy the card.
  • Request your free credit reports via annualcreditreport.com and review them for any fraudulent activities.

Is there anything I could have done to prevent this?

No, you are the victim of identity theft.  It’s highly unlikely that this occurred due to any error or negligence on your part.  As always, we recommend you protect your personally identifiable information (PII) and do not respond to emails or text messages that could be fraudulent.

Why did the College learn of this fraudulent claim before I was received a notice from IDES?

IDES has a web site where employers can view unemployment claims shortly after they are filed and generally before a notice is received by the “claimant”.  We are monitoring that site very closely and notifying employees of presumed fraudulent claims immediately so that swift action can be taken.

There are a lot of suggested action steps; can Human Resources or someone else at the College complete these steps on my behalf?

We are doing everything we can to support you through this process including notifying IDES immediately of fraudulent claims, communicating frequently, and providing helpful resources and recommended action items.   Unfortunately, actions such as freezing your credit reports, filing a police report, reporting the fraud to IDES and the Federal Trade Commission, etc. can only be done by the impacted individual.  We can recommend but not implement these various actions.

What should I do if I receive a notice from IDES titled “Notice of Overpayment and Recoupment Decision” or “Repayment Agreement?  (Please also see the IDES FAQs located below.)

IDES indicated that these notices were sent in error and that if you have reported the claim as fraudulent you will not be held responsible for repayment. If you haven’t already done so, we recommend that you immediately take one of the following steps to report your claim as fraud:

  • Call the IDES Fraud Line: (800) 814-0513: Communicate that you’ve received a repayment letter related to a fraudulent unemployment claim and wish to confirm that the claim was fraudulent.
  • Submit an online Fraud Notice

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) recently updated their FAQ page with the following information:

If someone steals my identity and IDES pays benefits to the fraudster, am I responsible for paying back the money?

No. You will not need to pay back the money. Your employer won’t have to repay it either.

What if I reported the fraud but still received a letter stating that I must pay back an overpayment?

If you received a notice or letter from us saying you owe us money, we sent this notice of overpayment in error if you:

  • Recently reported fraud, or
  • Have not applied for or received unemployment benefits recently.

We're so sorry for the anxiety this must have caused, and we want to reassure you that you do not owe any money as a result of a fraudulent claim. If you are a victim of fraud, you can ignore the overpayment notice. Our unemployment benefits computer system sends overpayment letters automatically when people really do need to repay benefits. Due to the massive number of fraudulent claims filed recently, the computer system sent many of these letters in error before we could stop them. We’re sorry you accidentally received one.

Will any funds paid on the fraudulent claim in my name be reported to the IRS as income?

No. Fraudulent funds are not reported as income to the IRS, and you will not receive a 1099 form from IDES if you report the fraud.

December 14, 2020; this document will be updated as new information becomes available.