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Individuals: Unemployment Insurance Fraud

IDES is aware of phishing schemes targeting Illinoisans. Please note that individuals will never receive a text message from IDES seeking personally identifiable information, like your social security or driver’s license numbers. For more info on phishing schemes please visit the FTC website.

Unemployment Insurance Identity Theft Fraud

Identity thieves and hackers have long known how to use stolen identities to commit fraud – for example, to open a new credit card or file a false tax return – and criminals using stolen identities to defraud public assistance programs is not new. In fact, such schemes are so pervasive that federal rules require Illinois to have staff dedicated to preventing and stopping fraudulent activity in the unemployment insurance (UI) system.

IDES partners with local and federal law enforcement agents, the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, Attorney General, State’s Attorney and US Attorney’s Offices to help us in our fight against fraud.

Please take the time to review the information below, including how to spot UI identity theft, how to report identity theft to IDES, and what happens after you contact the agency.

Spotting Unemployment Insurance Identity Theft

Your personal information may have been used to file a fraudulent unemployment insurance claim if:

  • You receive a debit card, paper check, or an unemployment insurance letter (UI Finding) and have not filed a claim for benefits.
  • You are notified by your employer that a claim for benefits has been filed when you still work for that employer.
  • You attempt to file a claim online and one already exists.
  • You receive IRS correspondence regarding unreported UI benefits.
  • You receive notice of a state or federal tax offset.

Next Steps

If you suspect a claim has been submitted using your information, and you have not applied for unemployment insurance benefits in Illinois, take steps as follows:

  • Report the fraudulent claim to IDES.
  • Visit the FTC for information on how to protect your credit and other personal information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens after I report the identity theft to IDES?

After you report identity theft fraud to IDES, the Department will investigate the claim. If the claim is determined to be fraudulent, IDES will shut down the claim. The Department will also send a notice, called a 500B Determination letter, to confirm that the claim has been stopped.

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.

If someone steals my identity and uses my information to apply for unemployment benefits, can I still apply for benefits if I need to?

Yes. We’ll be able to distinguish your legitimate claim from a fraudulent one.

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 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 unprecedented number of fraudulent claims filed nationwide, 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-G form from IDES if you report the fraud. If you receive a 1099-G form in error, please visit and call (800) 244-5631 to report the 1099-G form you received. The IDES team will assist you.

Other Resources

After you report to IDES that you were the victim of identity theft, go to the Federal Trade Commission and take these immediate steps to protect yourself from further acts of fraud.