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PARK FOREST – In an effort to combat pandemic-related scams, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) is urging residents to look out for potential unemployment fraud.

Some Illinoisans have reported receiving a KeyBank debit card and an unemployment letter from the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) despite never having applied for unemployment.

“If you get a notice of unemployment benefits in your name even though you haven’t filed, notify the authorities immediately,” Joyce said. “Your personal information could be at risk—if you believe you could be a victim of fraud, act now to spot and stop scammers.” 

IDES confirmed individuals who have not filed for benefits but received a debit card or unemployment letter could be the target of fraud. Anyone who has received a debit card without filing is encouraged to contact their local police department and report the incident with IDES. 

Category: Information

text scamPARK FOREST - Reports of a text scam involving COVID-19 have hit Illinois, and State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) is urging residents to be cautious and protect themselves.

“Scammers are using the pandemic to swindle money and personal information from vulnerable people,” Joyce said. “With scams on the rise, it’s important to stay informed so you don’t fall victim.”

Illinois State Police issued a warning on their Instagram page Monday that included a screenshot of the most recent text scam circulating throughout the state. The message appears to be from a contact tracer and invites recipients to click on a link for more information.

“If you receive a text like this, don’t click on the link,” Joyce said. “State Police confirmed it is not a message from any official agency.”

However, Joyce stressed that it is important to answer contact tracers, who may reach out to you via text. If you are concerned that a text may be a scam, the safest thing to do is contact your local health department directly.

Residents who believe they are a victim or the target of a coronavirus scam should contact their local police department immediately.

Category: Information

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PARK FOREST – State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) is encouraging small businesses to apply for COVID-19 relief funds through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.

“This program is a great opportunity for businesses to gain some financial certainty while they try to weather this pandemic,” Joyce said. “I strongly encourage small businesses to contact their banks before the Aug. 8 deadline to see if they are eligible to benefit.”

The application period has been extended to allow more businesses to apply for a portion of $10 million in relief funding. Loans will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and may be used to keep employees on the payroll and pay overhead expenses.

More than 27,000 Illinois businesses have already taken advantage of the loans – saving an estimated 1.36 million jobs – according to the Small Business Administration.

PPP loans have an interest rate of 1% and can be fully forgiven if they are used for eligible costs, including payroll, rent, utilities or interest on mortgages. To find participating lenders, business owners and managers can visit the Small Business Administration’s website here.

Category: Information

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PARK FOREST – With the income tax filing deadline approaching, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Park Forest) is reminding residents to file their state and federal taxes on or before July 15.

“Because of COVID-19, the filing deadline was extended to July 15,” Joyce said. “While the extension provided taxpayers a few extra months to make payments during this pandemic, the deadline is almost here, and I am urging residents to file their 2019 income taxes as quickly as possible.”

According to the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR), the fastest, most secure way to receive a refund is to file a tax return electronically and request a direct deposit into a checking or savings account. Taxpayers may file and pay their IL-1040 for free through MyTax Illinois. Taxpayers who have already filed a return can check their status at

For the most up-to-date information, forms, schedules and instructions for the 2019 tax year, please visit IDOR’s website at

Category: Information

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