Attorney General Raoul and Secretary of State White urge residents to be alert for real ID text scam

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul – Photo IllinoisAttorneyGeneral.gov

CHICAGO — Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Secretary of State Jesse White today warned Illinois residents to be on alert for text message scams related to upcoming federal Real ID requirements.

Raoul and White are warning the public of scammers who are sending unsolicited text messages claiming to be from the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). The text message urges the recipient to click on a link to update their driver’s license or state ID to comport with upcoming federal Real ID requirements.

Attorney General Raoul says the text is a scam, and recipients should not click on the link or provide any information. Visiting the website could place malware on the recipient’s device or trick them into disclosing sensitive personal information. The IDES never will request personal information via text message and will not contact Illinois residents about updating their driver’s licenses or state IDs.

“Large corporate data breaches have made our personal information vulnerable to scammers, and even I have experienced some of the more recent scams circulating. No one is immune, so it is critical that people take steps to protect their personal and financial information from thieves,” Raoul said. “If you receive an unsolicited text message from someone claiming to represent IDES, do not click any links. This is a scam, and you should immediately delete the message.”

“I have zero tolerance for scammers, especially those who would prey on people in desperate times,” said White. “I have instructed my Secretary of State Police to investigate this scam and to work with other law enforcement authorities to identify and arrest the fraudsters,” said White. “In addition, my office has been in contact with the Illinois Attorney General’s office, as well as the Illinois Department of Employment Security.”

The Real ID Act, passed by Congress, establishes minimum security standards for state driver’s licenses and IDs. Once the act takes effect, Illinois residents won’t be able to use their driver’s licenses or state IDs at airport security or military bases, among other places, unless it complies with the Real ID Act. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has extended Real ID requirements to Oct. 1, 2021. Current Illinois driver’s licenses or ID cards will continue to be accepted at airports, military bases and secure federal facilities until that date.

Raoul encourages people to take steps to protect their personal information:

  • Delete emails and texts that promise or offer access to Real ID driver’s licenses or state IDs, and do not click on any links contained in such emails or text messages, as they may place malware on your devices.
  • Hang up on any calls, including robocalls, which direct you to take immediate action or provide personally-identifiable information, such as your Social Security number or bank account number.
  • Ask to use other types of identifiers besides your Social Security number. Give your Social Security number out only when absolutely necessary.
  • Keep your software up-to date, including your phone and computer operating systems and antivirus protection programs. Most phones, computers and antivirus software can be set to update automatically when new software versions are released.