For Immediate Release: April 9, 2020
Information Contact: Georgia Smith, (208) 332-3570 ext. 2102
Beware of Unemployment Insurance Scams
Idahoans applying for unemployment insurance for the first time should be extra vigilant about what websites they access to file for benefits, according to the Department of Labor.
“People need to be careful,” said Idaho Department of Labor Director Jani Revier. “If you are applying for unemployment benefits, make sure you enter your information into a labor.idaho.gov webpage and not a fake website designed to steal personally identifiable information.”
First-time filers for unemployment insurance represent a large share of Idahoans applying for benefits, and according to the department’s IT security team, hackers are taking full advantage of the urgency people feel around COVID-19.
State workforce agencies across the country are reporting examples of unemployment insurance fraud activity including:
- Fake websites offering to help claimants file for unemployment benefits. These sites ask for confidential / private information including Social Security numbers, street addresses, work history and email addresses. Never give out or enter any information into these websites.
- Charging customers a fee to file for unemployment benefits. The department does not charge a fee for filing for unemployment insurance benefits.
- Scammers asking claimants to upload a copy of their driver’s license, birth certificate and other personally identifiable information to a non-governmental website. People do need to enter a Social Security number and driver’s license when filing for benefits online but the Idaho Department of Labor will never ask a customer to upload scanned copies of these documents into its system.
- Data thieves asking people to verify their identity by providing personally identifiable information within 24 hours. After someone applies for benefits with the Idaho Department of Labor, the agency will mail them a letter outlining their eligibility status. If they qualify, the claimant will then receive a monetary determination of benefits followed by a series of emails with tips on looking for work.
Idahoans who wish to file for unemployment insurance benefits can apply online at labor.idaho.gov/ClaimantPortal. Before they file, the department is asking applicants to watch the videos and review the Frequently-Asked Questions and user guides.
For more information on protecting yourself from an online crime, visit the Idaho Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division website or call 1-800-432-3545 (statewide) or (208) 334-2424.
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