CHICAGO (CBS) — The state’s employment department is warning people against a scam leading to identity theft.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) said there are prevalent phishing schemes that “may be leading to identity theft as international bad actors continue to attempt to exploit unemployment systems across the country.”

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Some of the ways scammers are contacting people is through fraudulent text messages, emails and social media messages.

The person posting poses as an IDES or other state representatives. The messages are being sent to people to phish for personally identifiable information (PII) and other data.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) there are steps for people to take if they’ve been contacted by a phishing scammer. who’ve been targeted by a phishing scammer.

The FTC says people need to strengthen and protect their online account information.

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“IDES claimants should maintain strong, unique passwords to their accounts and never share personal account information with untrustworthy sources,” said the state agency in a news release.

RELATED: IDES Fraud Continues To Run Rampant

According to IDES, the employment agency has shut down more than 1.7 million false claims filed with the Department in the names of identity theft victims.

Last week, the state and IDES blocked almost 450 million “nefarious attempts to access the Department’s benefit system.”

The scammer wanted to either file a fake insurance claim or enter an existing account to redirect payment.

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If you’ve been a target of identity theft-related unemployment insurance fraud, go to the IDES fraud webpage for information on how to report the claim.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff