CHICAGO (CBS) — With the new year come new scams, and those trying to pull one over on the state unemployment system are getting bolder. They’re trying to pocket benefits from people by the dozens.
Scammers had been getting their hands on social security numbers until CBS 2’s reporting changed the state policy on mailing out those numbers.
But now one man, who asked to keep his identity private, has received nearly 75 pieces of mail as his detached mailbox has become the center of a scam capitalizing on the overloaded unemployment department.
“There are 24 of these,” the man said of the letters. “That’s the first batch.”
Three batches of mail arrived from mid to late December.
“These are the debit cards associated with that first batch of envelopes that I got,” he explained, showing the mail.
The 24 debit cards from the Illinois Department of Employment Services are in the names of 24 different people. The man does not know the value on the cards or why he was the recipient. But he said getting the state’s attention is not easy.
“I emailed them, no correspondence, no phone call, no fax. None of that,” he said.
There was no replay, and — more baffling to him — no safeguards to prevent one address from being a receive site for two dozen cards ripe for scammers who likely engineered this.
“This is major that they don’t have any checks and balances in place,” he said. “These people whose name’s are on these documents, what’s happening to them?”
Steen Munter was one of the 24 whose information was sent to the address.
“It’s unsettling, but I have not had any experiences of a dastardly nature,” Munter said.
The Crystal Laker never applied for the benefits and was never given the benefit of a heads up.
“I’ve been retired 20 years. I doubt the state is aware of it. I would not have been aware of it if you had not called me,” he told CBS 2’s Chris Tye. “If there’s a way to scrape a nickel someone will figure out how to do it.”
CBS 2 has asked the state if there is a way for people caught up in this to get attention sooner. They say call the say 800 number everyone calls — the same one that often takes days or weeks to get a call back.
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