Latest scam warning; New figures on regional unemployment

Secretary of State issues warning on another scam targeting Illinoisans

It seems that scammers never stop trying to fraudulently obtain our personal information. The latest warning comes from the Illinois Secretary of State’s office and concerns a scam which tries to obtain personal information by claiming to be coming from the “Illinois DMV” and offering a rebate payment due to high gas prices. This is a scam.

The Secretary of State’s office is reminding everyone that it does not request personal information, such as social security numbers, via e-mail or text message. They further warn that clicking on website links within such messages could allow malware to be placed on your device and could even trick the device into revealing any sensitive personal information which might be on it. Anyone receiving such a message should delete it.

If you have been the victim of identity theft, or if you have clicked on a link like the one described in the Secretary of State’s alert, you should contact the Illinois Attorney General’s Identity Theft hotline at 1-866-999-5630.

Unemployment in Illinois metropolitan areas

When it comes to determining local unemployment statistics, Illinois has 14 metropolitan areas, from Chicago to Rock Island to Carbondale. Throughout the year the Illinois Department of Employment Security surveys the employment picture in each of these areas and reports on its findings, giving us a look at the state’s employment picture which is more localized than the statewide unemployment figure.

The most recent report found that unemployment in Illinois is continuing its slow decline from the pandemic-affected numbers of one year ago, but that the recovery is not moving as fast in all parts of the state. Around our region, while unemployment declined in the Bloomington area (from 4.3% last year to 4.1% this year) around Peoria (5.6% down to 5.5%) and Champaign (from 4.5% to 4.3%), it was unchanged in the Danville area (6.1%) and actually increased slightly in the region around Kankakee (going from 6.0% last year to 6.2% this year).

Statewide unemployment declined by 1.6% from one year ago, with the biggest geographical gains occurring in the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights region, where numbers improved from 6.8% last year to 4.2% this year. Another big gainer was the Quad Cities area of northwestern Illinois in which unemployment fell from 5.3% last year to 3.8% this year.

Stay safe around the pool

With these blistering hot mid-July temperatures, nothing is better than taking a dip in a nice cool swimming pool. To make sure everyone stays safe around the water, the Illinois State Fire Marshal has put forth some tips to keep in mind.

In more than two thirds of the cases in which a young child drowned in a pool, the child was not expected to be in the pool, according to the American Red Cross. The fire marshal says to make sure kids; including neighbors; know that the pool is off limits if there is not an adult nearby. He also recommends installing a four-sided fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate around the pool, and that users always make sure the gate is locked when they leave the pool. Never leave a child unattended in or around the pool. Swim lessons also save lives: a study from the U.S. Swimming Foundation found that taking formal swim lessons reduces a child’s likelihood of drowning by 88%.

Find more information at poolsafely.gov.

Friend of Education Award

I was most honored to receive the Friend of Education Award from the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools at their annual banquet this week. It was a great event put on by an important association. Thank you to all our regional superintendents for all that you do to support students, school districts, parents and our communities! 

How much do we owe?

As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $1,987,207,137 in unpaid bills to state vendors. One year ago, the backlog stood at $4.0 billion. This figure represents the amount of bills submitted to the office of the Comptroller and still awaiting payment. It does not include debts that can only be estimated, such as our unfunded pension liability which is subject to a wide range of factors and has been estimated to be more than $141 billion.

Did You Know?

The Illinois State Museum was founded in 1877. It was originally located on the 3rd floor of the Capitol building in Springfield, before moving to the Centennial Building in 1922 and then to its current location at the south end of the Capitol grounds in 1963. Its original space in the Capitol building is now used for offices for the state Senate. The State Museum also operates satellite locations throughout the state.

More news from around the state

Trial delayed for ComEd bribery case involving longtime allies of former Speaker Mike Madigan

University of Illinois Extension offers free webinars to prepare for disasters

How the Illinois Supreme Court works

IDOC hosting job fairs, including event at Heartland Community College in Bloomington

IDNR accepting youth hunting on private land applications

Illinois hikers should show caution, not fear if confronted by a venomous snake