avoiding covid 19 scamsCHICAGO – Recent reports of identity theft and unemployment fraud have prompted State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) to urge anyone who may have been targeted to file a report. 

“Using a global pandemic to take advantage of people is unethical and illegal,” Villivalam said. “If you think you’ve been a victim or target of fraudulent activity, report it immediately.” 

Reports surfaced last week of individuals receiving KeyBank debit cards with an accompanying unemployment benefit letter despite never having applied for assistance. The Illinois Department of Employment Security suspects these mailings may be fraud attempts.

IDES currently believes they’re part of a nationwide fraud scheme targeting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program applicants. 

IDES staff is currently working with individuals whose identities have or may have been compromised by a scammer. The department is also partnering with local and federal law enforcement to catch and prosecute the perpetrators. 

“If you have received a debit card in the mail and have not applied for assistance, don’t activate the card. Call IDES immediately at 1-800-814-0531 to report potential identity theft,” Villivalam said. “We can’t let these scammers get away with their schemes while people are struggling to overcome the pandemic. I would also encourage anyone who has been targeted to check your credit reports for suspicious activity.” 

When you have filed a report, the Illinois Attorney General is offering information and tips free of charge for those who think their personal and financial information may be at risk. For assistance, consult their Identity Theft Resource Guideor call the toll-free Identity Theft Hotline at 1-866-999-5630.

Victims of fraud are also encouraged to place a fraud alert through one of the three major credit bureaus should any suspicious activity be found. Individuals should visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website for helpful tips on recognizing and reporting identity theft. 

Category: Press Releases

circus COVID 19 resources
CHICAGO – State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) has worked closely with members of the communities he represents to support people in need during the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

At the close of this month, the additional $600 a week for unemployment insurance and pandemic unemployment assistance benefits provided by the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation will end. 

In light of this expiring assistance program, Villivalam is seeking to ensure all constituents know how to reach his office and the resources available to them. 

Villivalam’s office can assist with grocery and medication delivery, accessing rent and mortgage relief, utility assistance options, unemployment benefits, and more. 

“This extra financial assistance from the federal government has helped so many during these unsettled times. It’s unfortunate that it is ending while so many people are still struggling,” Villivalam said “I want to be as helpful as I can. I encourage anyone in the 8th District who needs help and/or has suggestions on how we can help to reach out to my office.” 

To date, Senator Villivalam and his office have provided and participated in:

  • Calls to more than 100,000 area residents to offer assistance and to answer questions;
  • Regular newsletter updates, FAQs, and resource guides with the latest information;
  • Wellness check calls made to over 11,000 seniors to connect them to vital federal, state, and local services;
  • Assisting close to 400 residents with their COVID-19 related cases issues with the state of Illinois;
  • Close to 200 food pantry/grocery deliveries;
  • The creation of a GoFundMe that raised approximately $15,000 in support of local food pantries;
  • The coordination of services with other governmental offices and;
  • Several online presentations and briefings with fellow local lawmakers and community leaders, including town halls on resources for small businesses, first responders, and schools;
  • A community call with residents of the 60645 ZIP code to help coordinate the response to the high COVID-19 rate in the community;
  • An Asian American Caucus call with Secretary Hou and various non-profits serving the Asian American community; and
  • A webinar for assisting Asian American businesses in conjunction with the Illinois Asian American Legislative Caucus, the Asian American Caucus, and the Asian American Coalition of Chicago.

To contact Villivalam and his staff, constituents can call (872) 208-5188, text (224) 592-5819, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit his website, www.senatorram.com/contact-us, to send a message, or reach out via social media at www.facebook.com/senatorram or www.twitter.com/senvillivalam.

Category: Press Releases

PPP loan forgivenessCHICAGO –  In light of the ongoing struggles faced by small businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has once again extended the application deadline for the Paycheck Protection Program, and State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) is encouraging struggling business owners to apply for a potentially forgivable loan.

“While we are in the midst of reopening our state’s economy, there are still many local small business owners who are struggling to get by due to the pandemic,” Villivalam said. “Many business owners are worried about being able to support their families, pay their employees, and keep their doors open. Forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program will allow them to keep their business running and ease the burden of the financial hardship they are facing.”

Villivalam represents the 8th State Senate District, which is composed of likely the largest concentration of Jewish, Asian American, Irish American, Assyrian American, and other immigrant populations in the state. He is proud to represent a district made up of a variety of constituents from diverse cultural backgrounds and believes it is what allows the communities he represents to succeed. 

“I’m proud to represent such a diverse district,” Villivalam said. “You can travel within a five-mile radius and be able to find restaurants that serve warm rotis and dosas, hot matzo ball soup, fresh perogies and crispy fried chicken. Our district continues to thrive due to this diversity. I urge you when you are grabbing dinner this week, picking up groceries or looking for the latest fashion, that you take the time to shop locally and support our local businesses during this unprecedented time.”

The Federal Treasury Department and the U.S. Small Business Administration extended the application deadline for the Paycheck Protection Program to assist struggling business owners. Businesses can get up to $10 million in financial relief on a first come, first served basis. Under the extended deadline, businesses can apply until August 8.

If used as intended, the loans will not have to be repaid. More than 27,000 Illinois businesses have already taken advantage of the loans. According to the Small Business Administration, these loans have saved an estimated 1.36 million jobs. 

The interest rate on PPP loans stands at 1% and will be forgiven in full if used toward payroll costs, rent, utilities, or interest on mortgages. To find participating lenders, business owners and managers should visit the Small Business Administration’s website, HERE

Category: Press Releases

Rebuild Illinois

CHICAGO – State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) has obtained nearly $1 million in funding for new projects that will benefit the Chicago and Northwest suburban Jewish community under the Rebuild Illinois statewide construction plan.

“The district I represent is home to a very large portion of the Illinois Jewish community, and this funding will help critical Jewish organizations increase their capacity during and after the pandemic,” Villivalam said. “It is important to also note that the allocation of resources to our local Jewish organizations will support everyone in our community for years to come as these organizations provide food assistance, emergency assistance, home care, child care, recreational activities, and so much more to all of our residents.”

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Category: Press Releases

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3851 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659
(872) 208-5188

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M120 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-5500

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