CHICAGO (CBS) — Dealing with unemployment fraud is already a major headache, but having that fraud possibly affect your credit score?
As CBS 2’s Tara Molina reported Wednesday night, we’re hearing from people who said that is what they’re dealing with, as we continue to uncover issues with fraud at the state level.
Claudette Zarzycki thought dealing with unemployment fraud was bad enough. Now, with a hard check on her credit, she’s worrying about her credit score, too.
Zarzycki’s family has run Zarzycki Manor Chapels since 1915.
“We’re known as the last responders,” she said.
But running a funeral home during a pandemic has been hard. And when Zarzycki thought she had enough on her plate, she got a letter from the Illinois Department of Employment Security about an unemployment claim for which she had never filed.
“My last day of work was in March?” Zarzycki sad. “Uh, no.”
She wants to know why the claim didn’t raise a red flag within IDES, since her essential business never closed and reports to the agency.
“You pay to IDES to cover unemployment,” Zarzycki said. “I’ve been reporting every quarter.”
But while trying to take care of the situation, she got hit with something a call to the state cannot fix.
“A hard check was done on my credit,” Zarzycki said.
She said the hard check was for another case of fraud – a small business loan that was applied for in her name, but denied.
“Now I’m trying to get a hold of someone from Experian to say this wasn’t me,” Zarzycki said. “I have the report number.”
While it’s unclear if that fraud is linked to Zarzycki’s unemployment fraud case, because she hasn’t heard from IDES in weeks, we know she’s not alone in her concerns.
We heard from others, also dealing with unemployment fraud, who claim the fraud led to credit checks.
So what is going on here?
A spokeswoman for IDES said the department does work with a credit reporting bureau, but only to combat fraud – specifically within the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance system that is geared toward gig workers.
She said the checks are used to double check identity and should not touch or impact someone’s credit.
But Zarzycki said IDES should be doing better in preventing any kind of fraud in the first place.
“It takes a lot of time out of somebody’s day to not only work, do your job, service people, but you have to try to find time in the day to fix something you didn’t do,” she said.
Molina followed up with Gov. JB Pritzker’s office to see if anything new is being done to combat these issues with fraud, but they haven’t responded to that request.
CBS 2 is committing to Working For Chicago, connecting you every day with the information you or a loved one might need about the jobs market, and helping you remove roadblocks to getting back to work.
We’ll keep uncovering information every day to help this community get back to work, until the job crisis passes. CBS 2 has several helpful items right here on our website, including a look at specific companies that are hiring, and information from the state about the best way to get through to file for unemployment benefits in the meantime.