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Local News

Sheriff’s office warns of identity theft scam

Local law enforcement officials want residents to be on the lookout for an unemployment benefits scam in the area.

Four people phoned into the Will County Sheriff’s Office earlier this week saying their employers had received a letter by mail from the Illinois Labor Unemployment Office asking the employer to verify the victims’ job status in order to collect payment or benefits, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

The letter includes the victim’s name, Social Security number and other identifying information, Kathy Hoffmeyer, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said Thursday.

The scammers are attempting to collect the unemployment benefits under the potential victim’s name, Hoffmeyer said.

Will County Sheriff’s Deputy Ken Kaupas said in a news release that identify theft is on the rise.

“Each year identity theft continues to grow. Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies have been inundated with ID theft complaints, particularly unemployment and tax return fraud,” Kaupas said. “As citizens we are all vulnerable to this type of crime and need to be more diligent in protecting our personal information.”

If you believe you are a victim of identify theft or if your employer has received a similar letter regarding unemployment benefits, the sheriff’s office suggests you:

• File a police report

• Contact the following agencies: Unemployment benefit agency that your employer received the letter from; Social Security Administration; Federal Trade Commission; Internal Revenue Service; your bank and credit reporting agencies.

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