State unemployment office notifying more than 32,000 gig workers whose personal information was possibly exposed

State unemployment office notifying more than 32,000 gig workers whose personal information was possibly exposed

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The state’s unemployment insurance office said Friday it would start more than 32,000 gig workers whose personal information may have been viewed during a security breach.

The breach in the system built for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payments was revealed last week, when a claimant reported that she had stumbled upon personal information for thousands of applicants on the state’s website, including names, addresses and Social Security numbers. The claimant told her state representative, Terri Bryant, a Murphysboro Republican, who reported it to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

After working with Deloitte Consulting to investigate a glitch in the system, the state will send notices to people whose information may have been “unintentionally viewed" by a single individual. The state had hired Deloitte to help it deal with the large number of unemployment insurance claims -- more than a million since the March stay-at-home order closed nonessential businesses and sent people home.

The department said that computer records confirm that no one else viewed the personal information and there is no sign that any personal information “was, or will be, improperly used.”

“Out of an abundance of caution, the Department will notify 32,483 claimants whose information could have been possibly viewed to ensure full transparency,” the department said.

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Claimants who get the notice will have the option to enroll in 12 months of free credit monitoring, a service offered by Deloitte, the state said.

The department received 74,515 claims under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program to aid the self-employed in the first week since the state’s system went live May 11, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The program to provide unemployment benefits to self-employed workers is part of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Applicants must first apply for regular unemployment and be rejected before they can apply for the new benefits.

The state encourages applicants to try to fill out claims online first, but many people have run into problems and then must call the office at 800-244-5631 for help. Some applicants have said they’ve called dozens of times a day to try to find help, though the Illinois Department of Employment Security said it has doubled the number of workers in call centers to assist claimants.

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