By Bob Uphues
Police in Brookfield, Riverside and North Riverside are warning residents not to be taken in by a scam involving purported pre-paid debit cards sent through the mail by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).
The cards in question are purportedly issued by Key Bank and a letter that comes with the card claims it has funds loaded onto it to pay unemployment benefits. The letter instructs recipients to activate the card by calling a phone number and establishing a PIN.
However, the cards are being sent to people who have never filed for unemployment compensation. In one case, the card was issued in the name of a Brookfield man who was deceased.
On July 23, a 77-year-old North Riverside man contacted police after receiving one of the cards in the mail. He assumed it was a scam, since the mailing did not include his entire name and listed the wrong apartment number.
The man told police he had never filed for unemployment and had not activated the card.
Last week, five Brookfield residents called police to report they'd received similar debit cards, purportedly from the IDES. None of the residents had applied for unemployment benefits, according to police, and none activated the cards.
Riverside police on July 24, issued a press release warning that they "had taken several reports in recent weeks" about identical mailings to residents in that village. Upon activating the cards, victims were asked for personal identifying information. All of the cards in question in the Riverside cases also were purportedly issued by Key Bank.
"If you have not applied for unemployment in the state of Illinois, and have received a pre-paid debit card, DO NOT activate the card," the Riverside press release stated. "Rather, file a report with police and report the fraud to the Illinois Department of Employment Security."
More information about the widespread scam is available at tinyurl.com/yyw9uu28.
A 20-year-old Romeoville woman and a 22-year-old Joliet woman both were charged with aggravated speeding and street racing after an officer on patrol reported them racing their vehicles, along with a third whose driver got away, while eastbound on Cermak Road from Desplaines Avenue on July 21 at about 11:25 p.m.
According to police, both vehicles were traveling side by side at 73 mph in a 35 mph zone while an unidentified third vehicle led the other two. Two police officers were able to stop the two vehicles that were racing side by side, an Audi Q3 and a Hyundai Sonata, one in the 7500 block of Cermak Road and one in the parking lot of Kohl's in the 7200 block.
According to police, the drivers of the Audi and Hyundai are cousins, and one of them admitted they were racing one another. Police had no information on the third vehicle involved.
North Riverside police responded to a home in the 2300 block of 10th Avenue on the night of July 22 after a resident called to report that someone had broken into her garage and stole an air compressor.
The victim told police that she was preparing to hold a garage sale and as a result was in and out of the garage frequently. The side service door had been left unlocked between July 20 and 21, when the victim believed the burglary took place.
A 45-year-old North Riverside man went to police on the morning of July 24 to report that someone had stolen his banking information and had his paycheck deposited into an unknown bank account.
The victim told police that he'd checked his checking account and observed that his paycheck for more than $1,000 had not been deposited by his employer. He contacted the company's human resources department, which informed him that their records indicated he'd changed his direct deposit information online on June 29.
The victim told HR that he recently lost his cellphone, which had his personal and banking formation on it. His paycheck, according to the police report, was deposited into a bank located in Attica, Ohio. The victim contacted that bank in order to initiate a fraud investigation. The man's employer also was conducting an internal investigation.
These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, July 20-26, and represent a portion of the incidents to which police responded. Unless otherwise indicated, anybody named in these reports has only been charged with a crime. These cases have not been adjudicated.
— Compiled by Bob Uphues