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Don't Be A Victim: Avoid Unemployment Scams

Avoid Unemployment Scams

On occasion the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) receives notification of potential scams aimed at Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants and their current or former employers.

This page contains alerts for known scams related to collecting unemployment benefits in an effort to protect claimants and employers and their personal information.

How to tell if a message from DWD is official:

  • Official text messages from DWD provide the web address.
  • DWD does not send text messages to claimants to notify them that their profile or claim will be deactivated.
  • DWD does not send group text messages (texts with more than one recipient).
  • Any official text messages from DWD notify the claimant to log on to their Claimant Portal at ​to view any messages securely.
  • Do NOT click on links, enter your user information, or provide any information to suspicious websites or spoofed messages.
  • See this FBI Public Service Announcement for more information about spoofed unemployment benefit websites.

To verify a caller:

  • Ask the caller to provide their (1) first name, (2) adjudicator code, and (3) phone number.
  • Call the UI Claimant Assistance Line at (414) 435-7069 or toll-free (844) 910-3661 to verify the caller is assigned to your claim.

Scams Targeting Claimants

August 2022 Fraud Alert: Wisconsin UI Debt Consolidation Scam

Beware of solicitations from debt relief services offering to negotiate a reduction on an unemployment overpayment debt for a small fee. WI Unemployment Insurance (UI) does not employ outside debt relief or debt collection services. Unemployment overpayments and penalties cannot be settled for a lesser amount.

Please call 608-266-9701 to speak to a WI UI Collections Specialist if you have any questions about your debt repayment options and to make payment arrangements. If you are unable to pay the full amount, the collections specialist will be able to assist with various payment options available to you.

August 2022 Fraud Alert: Phishing Web Sites

Be aware of phishing web sites. You may receive links to these sites via text, email, or via a web search. Scammers trick you into signing into their site using familiar DWD web pages to steal your personal information. Official messages from DWD provide the web address.

March 2022 Fraud Alert: Wisconsin Text Scams

We have received numerous reports of phishing text scams. The web address changes frequently, but the message is typically similar to: "Due to numbers of fraudulent claims we request you to verify your Wisconsin UI identity here on FAKE WEB ADDRESS HERE to prevent your Account being locked. Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance." If you have opted in to receive text messages from the department and you're not sure if something is legitimate, log into your Claimant Portal to see if you've really received a message.

March 2022 Fraud Alert: Wisconsin Text Scams

View this fake text message that states UI has funded your claim account and to click a link to process it. If you have opted in to receive text messages from the department and you're not sure if something is legitimate, log into your Claimant Portal to see if you've really received a message. If benefit payments have been made, you can see those on the Claimant Portal. You are not required to click a link to process your payments.

See Previous Fraud Alerts

  • Facebook Job Openings
    Facebook posts for Call Center Job openings on UpWork or paying CareerOneStop to help you apply for UI are a scam. Do not apply for these jobs; and do not pay for these services. There is a posting on a FaceBook group (Strictly Homebased Work)-linking to a job posting on UpWork that is soliciting call center workers—allegedly for CareerOneStop (see screenshot). The call-center script offers to help people file a UI claim for a fee of $49.50. The script directs the call-center workers to say they are calling on “behalf of CareerOneStop which is a product of the USDOL/ETA.”
  • No Fee
    There is no fee to file for unemployment benefits. If you get a phone call from someone representing themselves as being from California EDD or a representative of Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance telling you that you need to pay to file for unemployment benefits - Do not give any information to the caller or send money.
  • False Websites
    There are several websites that advertise that they can assist claimants in filing for unemployment benefits. Some of those sites offer services free of charge and others do charge for the services. The sites often ask for confidential/private information such as your social security number, address, work history and email address. Use only the official Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance websites: or
  • Emails and Text Messages
    We WILL NOT ask you for personal information or for you to verify your eligibility for unemployment benefits by email or text message. If you receive an email or text message and you are unsure if it came from Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance, contact a claims specialist by phone at (414) 435-7069.
  • Email Scams
    1. If you receive an email from the Job Center of Wisconsin (JCW), stating there is an employment opportunity and you need to set up a Google Hangouts account to conduct an interview or you will lose benefits, do not respond.  JCW provides more information on how to protect yourself online including actions to take.
    2. If you receive an email from an individual or service regarding your method of payment for receipt of unemployment benefits from Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance do not respond. The email advises claimants to enroll in a direct deposit card program online and lists a mailing address in Las Vegas, NV. This communication did not come from the State of Wisconsin, DWD, Unemployment Insurance Division. Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance would never communicate with you via email regarding direct deposit.
    3. There have been several complaints of individuals receiving false emails stating that they had won a $1,000 Visa gift card free of charge. The individuals were directed to a website to claim the gift card. The website malware attempts to download to their computer. These emails are not from the Texas Workforce Commission nor are they from the State of Wisconsin, DWD, Unemployment Insurance Division. Gift cards or other “gifts” are not being given away.
  • Applying for Debit Cards
    A recent scam directs claimants to a website ( to apply for a debit card. The scam company then charges for no activity on the card. Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance uses the Visa® Pre-Paid Debit Card (U.S. Bank ReliaCard®) to pay unemployment benefits.
  • ATM Threats
    Protect yourself when using your Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance Debit Card and any other personal debit or credit cards. Be discreet when entering your PIN or withdrawing cash at an ATM. If an ATM or even a gas pump looks suspicious, do not use it!; Criminals try to steal information about your credit or debit card through skimming, copying information from the magnetic strips, in order to gain access to your account.
  • Job Offers
    If you receive a call from someone representing himself as an employee of Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance offering employment but requesting your credit card number and personal information in order to be hired, do not provide the information. Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance would not ask you for your credit card information.
  • Online Surveys
    Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance does not pay claimants to take surveys. If you receive an email requesting that you complete an online survey seeming to be from the State of Wisconsin, DWD, Unemployment Insurance which promises to pay you to complete the survey, do not complete the survey. This is likely an attempt to get your personal information.

Scams Targeting Employers

  • Phone Scams
    • June 2020 Fraud Alert: The University of Wisconsin (UW) Office of Human Resources has received several reports of unemployment phone scams and fraudulent attempts to collect benefits using stolen information. Scenario: Employee receives a phone call from an unknown number. The caller impersonates a Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) employee, and states that DWD had no record of UW employment. They then request the employee provide their Social Security Number in order to receive unemployment benefits.
  • Email Scams
    1. If you receive an email that claims to be sent on behalf of the New York or Wisconsin “Division of Unemployment Assistance”: requesting information about a former employee, do not reply to the message and do not click on the link in the message. This appears to be an email identity fraud scam. Neither the New York Department of Labor nor the State of Wisconsin’s DWD Unemployment Insurance Division sent the email. Neither office would request confidential information in this manner. Wisconsin UI does not send emails for information on former employees.
    2. There is an imposter Kevin Adams, claiming to be a Sr. Benefit Representative. He is targeting employers seeking confidential information. He is targeting employers using an email ending in and using an 866 number. Neither the State of Wisconsin, DWD, Unemployment Insurance nor the State of MO uses an 866 number. The emails for employees use their name and end in for Missouri workers and for State of Wisconsin workers. Neither agency has employees titled Sr. Benefits Rep. in their unemployment divisions.