Streamlining the process for reporting victims of fraud
SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – The Illinois Department of Job Security has discovered and arrested nearly one million cases of fraud since March 1.
Four thousand calls regarding identity theft have become a daily norm for IDES. A significant number of these calls are from employers trying to help workers affected by fraudsters.
“Reporting it to the agency gives us the opportunity to put an end to the fraudulent claim very quickly,” said Kristin Richards, acting director of IDES. “It also gives us the opportunity to return what we have learned about these claims to law enforcement.”
Richards says the department’s response time has improved dramatically since the state launched an “everyone on deck” approach to tackle the problem.
“Putting additional call center agents around that, training our employees statewide on how to identify and stop a fraudulent claim has paid off,” Richards explained. “Now I’m happy to report that we are really returning those calls day in and day out.”
Walk through the process
The majority of fraudulent claims relate to data breaches and previous cyber attacks. If you receive a UI search letter or a KeyBank debit card, you should immediately call the number on the IDES letter or go to the website.
IDES recently streamlined the process with a special portal on the website for anyone caught up in the fraud scheme. Richards says the department can close the application once it receives the form with your name and applicant number.
“We continue to seek to harness our technological resources and our talented human capital here at the agency to fight fraudsters,” said Richards.
Unfortunately, someone filed a fraudulent claim under my name last week. After receiving a letter from IDES, I reported the fraud on the ministry’s website. Anyone in this situation must complete a form with the applicant’s identifier indicated in the letter in order to be called back by IDES. While some people are still waiting for help, an IDES employee called me within 24 hours.
“It’s not the average”
“If they reduced it to one day, that’s fantastic. I would applaud them for that, ”said Senator Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro). “But, it is not the average and it is definitely an outlier.”
Bryant’s office has helped many Illinois since the first data breach in May. It started shortly after the federal government created the pandemic unemployment system to help entrepreneurs and 10 to 99 workers get benefits. Bryant appreciates the efforts of Richards and the IDES staff, but says Illinois needs to do better for residents who are waiting.
“I totally understand it’s bigger than Illinois,” Bryant added. “But, the fact that you can’t have an IDES human being on the phone is a persistent problem.”
Bryant says it’s high time employees returned to IDES offices so concerned citizens can meet someone face to face. Richards says she also wants staff to return to her offices. However, she believes the department must first find a secure way for requesters and employees to interact.
“Right now we have people who both work remotely and come to work. Every goal that we are currently reviewing with the agency is one of the ways in which we increase productivity, ”explained Richards. “How do we continue to have an impact on the people who come to us for services and try to reduce those wait times? As long as we remain productive and secure in this environment, this is how we will stay the course. But, of course, we are making plans for what that will look like in the future. ”