Identity theft crimes on the rise in Illinois and nationwide, along with persistent complaints of IDES unemployment benefit fraud
“We just received a letter in the mail saying that a small business administrator loan had been taken out in his name and that it would expire in a year,” said Doris’ daughter, 91. Doris did not want her last name to be used because she was the victim of identity theft.
The SBA loan in Doris’ name amounted to nearly $ 50,000. Doris’ daughter filed an identity fraud complaint with the SBA, the Federal Trade Commission, and filed a police report. She said she was even lucky to find out about the problem because the loan letter was in a regular envelope.
“It concerns me with other people. Old people, you know, they might not even be, the envelope is so rubbish, they could have thrown it away, you know, not everyone opens it all. the courier, ”she said.
To make matters worse, Doris is also a victim of the unemployment scam; someone else has applied for benefits on their behalf through the Illinois Department of Job Security.
“She got one of the IDES debit cards. And obviously she hasn’t worked for 30 years,” Doris’s daughter said.
The ABC 7 I-Team contacted IDES and SBA. Neither would comment on Doris’ cases.
The SBA has acknowledged that its government program, which loaned more than $ 1 trillion during the pandemic, is fighting fraud. In late October, the SBA Inspector General released a report concluding that the SBA “has lowered the safeguards” that “dramatically increase the risk of program fraud” potentially resulting in $ 77 billion in fictitious loans.
The SBA does not agree with these findings.
But identity thieves don’t just target government programs. A study by research group Javelin shows that identity theft in 2019 fell from $ 14.7 billion in losses to $ 16.9 billion.
“We know from the data that Illinois is being targeted, specifically Chicago, Illinois ranks 13th among states for identity theft,” said Bryan Lewis, CEO of Intellicheck, a company that works with law enforcement and retailers to end identity. theft, citing FTC data.
Lewis explained how easy it is for thieves to open accounts in your name with fake driver’s licenses.
“When you apply for credit, they’ll authenticate you. The way we do that is we can tell you with over 99% certainty that the driver’s license is for real, and the first thing the bad guys do in it. this case can they go online, and i just checked i went to one of the sites that sell fake driver’s licenses and get the latest illinois license for $ 100. can buy your social security number online for $ 1. So basically for $ 101 I can get a license with your information, my face on it and then I’ll more or less go shopping. point it’s easy to get credit when you walk into a store, ”Lewis explained.
In June, US Customs and Border Protection said it had confiscated nearly 20,000 counterfeit US driver’s licenses at the international mail facility at O’Hare Airport; most of the counterfeits came from China.
So what can you do to stop the wave of identity theft?
If you don’t open a credit card or buy a house or car in the near future, you can order a credit freeze with all three bureaus. A credit freeze can be canceled by you if needed.
You can also sign up for credit monitoring services that alert you if accounts are opened in your name. Some of them, like Credit Karma, are free.
Doris’ daughter hopes these fraudulent accounts will soon be removed from her mother’s name.
“It was surprising, because, you know, it didn’t work that well and I didn’t know how people got their hands on the information,” she said.
Another tip for preventing identity theft is to do your best to limit the number of times you provide businesses with your Social Security number, driver’s license information, and date of birth. Ask if you really need to provide this personal information.
TOOLS FOR REPORTING IDENTITY THEFT AND FRAUD
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