Unemployment Fraud Notice & Info

Unemployment Fraud Notice & Info

A scheme has emerged during the pandemic involving fraudulent unemployment claims.  The scam involves a third party applying for unemployment using your personal information (name, SSN, possibly other personally identifiable information - PII) and either providing their bank account number or attempting to obtain the funds placed on the State issued debit card.  If the claim is approved, funds are disbursed under your name to the imposter’s account or to the issued debit card.  This poses a number of problems including identity theft, fraud and tax liability. 

In consultation with our internal and external data security experts, we have confirmed that Wheaton’s systems have not been compromised. This is a nation-wide scheme that likely originated from large third-party data breaches.  The Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General is aware of and is investigating the issue. 

At Wheaton, we have had several fraudulent claims filed in the name of current employees.  We are monitoring claims very closely, notifying affected employees immediately, and reporting these claims to the state. 

Recommended action steps for everyone:

  • Protect your PII (including sending information to Human Resources only by uploading securely through Box; do not send bank information, SSN,DOB or other PII in or attached to an email);
  • Monitor your personal mail and review anything received from the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) promptly; this could be notice of a claim “you” filed;
  • Notify Human Resources (hr@wheaton.edu) as soon as possible if you receive anything that looks suspicious;
  • If you are a victim of this fraud, follow all the recommended action items.

Recommended action steps if you are affected by this scheme:

  • Report the fraud to your state unemployment benefits agency.
  • Call at least one of the three major credit reporting agencies to add a fraud alert to your file and freeze your credit reports.  Once one of the agencies is made aware, they will notify the other two. 
  • File a police report with your local police department. If the police inquire - we do not know who actually filed the claim or where they are since the claim was filed anonymously through IDES.
  • Follow the steps provided by the Department of Labor and by the FTC.
  • Contact your bank to inform them of potential fraud.
  • Don't respond to any calls, emails, or text messages telling you to wire money, send cash, or put money on gift cards. Your state agency will never tell you to repay money that way. Anyone who tells you to do those things is participating in fraudulent activity.
  • Consider signing up for a credit monitoring service. Many credit cards will provide this service for free and will monitor for new credit inquiries, loans, etc.

 Additionally, the IDES provides the following resources:

  • The Illinois Attorney General’s Identity Theft Hotline has several resources to help you, including trained advocates to guide you through the process: 1-866-999-5630; TTY: 1-877-844-5461.
  • Watch this video from the Federal Trade Commission website to get helpful tips on protecting yourself against identity theft and what to do when your information is lost or exposed.

Fraudulent activity of all types is known to increase in times of crisis so please continue to follow all data security protocols to safeguard personal and institutional data.  Thank you for your attention to this important topic.