NAPERVILLE, IL — Scott Anderson is retired, so a letter about unemployment benefits was one of the last things he expected to see in the mail. Anderson, a Lisle resident, told Patch the letter was forwarded from his former address in Naperville. Anderson isn’t alone. Since March, Naperville has seen 1,192 reports of unemployment scams.
The scams work like this: Scammers use someone else’s information to apply for unemployment benefits. They then change the payment type to direct deposit, so they can get the funds before the victim receives an unemployment card in the mail.
In Anderson’s case, he received a letter about an application for unemployment benefits from Mack Industries into his bank account. Anderson told Patch he’s never worked for Mack Industries. Anderson wonders if the thief would have tried to steal an unemployment card from his former address. He told Patch a friend who lived near that address knew a neighbor who was also a victim of unemployment fraud.
Anderson told Patch, “When you see an envelope in your hand with someone who is pretending to be you, it is very unsettling.”
Anderson went on, “It’s sad how they are [targeting] older people and retirees. That’s the tragedy here. A large number of old people may just get sucked in and lose all their money.”
The Will County Sheriff’s Office has also seen an increase in unemployment scams. In October and November, the sheriff’s office received 140 reports of unemployment fraud.
If you believe you have been a victim of unemployment fraud, you should notify your local police department and report it to the Illinois Department of Employment Security hotline at 866-999-5630.