Yesterday, I received a debit card I hadn't requested. It all looked very legit, but there was a reference to an acronym I didn't recognize. In a separate mailing, I received a notification about my unemployment claim filed six months ago. My benefit was determined to be 0, but the letter referred to the bank debit card I was to receive to access my benefits. The acronym that accompanied the debit card, IDES, refers to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
The problem is that I didn't file for unemployment benefits. I've been working throughout the year, and it's been a good year for earnings. The letter also indicated that I should file a fraud report at the state unemployment site if I had not filed for unemployment benefits. I did so immediately.
No reason was given for denying benefits, but I'm glad the state denied benefits for whatever reason. I don't know how the fraudulent claimant intended to access the benefits had any been granted, but I suspect they had a way or some idea of a way to claim the money.
The state's letter also noted that I should consider myself a victim of identity theft if I hadn't filed a claim. I’ve been a victim of identity theft before. The first time, it was difficult to sort out. It's been much easier subsequently.
I don't think I've done anything careless on my end, but there are so many ways to steal information. In the last year alone, a hospital where I was a patient informed me of a massive data breach and indicated that all my info had been stolen. I also received a letter this year from a company for whom I'd done testing as a W-9 worker. They told me their network was breached and all my info was compromised. I was also among the millions whose info was stolen in the massive Equifax breach of 2017. Along the way, I've received letters informing me that I was the victim of a breach at other companies and organizations. I suppose most of us have our info for sale to fraudsters somewhere on the dark web.
I've monitored my credit for a long time, so I should be alerted quickly if anyone attempts to use my info to secure a bank loan or a credit card, but then there is the stuff that doesn't appear on credit reports, like unemployment claims. In this case, six months passed before I was given an indication that someone filed a claim in my name.
I guess there's nothing to do except monitor what you can, open all mail, and act quickly if anything shady turns up.