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.
View this Public Service Announcement from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that alerts the public to recognize and avoid spoofed, or fake, unemployment benefit websites.
View this fake text message that states you must verify your identity. 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.
View this Facebook message scam claiming the U.S. Department of Labor can assist when a payment is held. Be aware of phishing and spoofing attempts and do not click any links.
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.
Be on the lookout! Scammers are sending a variety of text messages to try to get people to click on the link and enter their personal information. 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.
The following are examples of fake text messages (the scammers regularly change the web address and wording):
Scammers are sending fake text messages instructing people to contact the Identity Hotline. Scammers often change their approach so a text message may include a link to click on or a fake phone number to call, which scammers hope people will use to share their personal information. DWD does not send text messages instructing people to contact the Identity Hotline. Be aware of phishing and spoofing attempts through text messages and do not click any links.
View this email from Unemployment Support asking you to click on a link to confirm a notification. Be aware of phishing and spoofing attempts through email and do not click any links.
View these fake text messages that claim you have to verify your Benefit Profile details within 48 hours or your benefits will be deactivated. Scammers are trying to get people to click on the link and enter their personal information:
View this spoofed DWD UI email to verify your identity as a result of a recent review on your Wisconsin unemployment claim, asking you to click on a "Verify My Identity" button. Be aware of phishing and spoofing attempts through email and do not click any links.
View this spoofed Wisconsin UI email asking you to click on a link to fill out a form. Holding your cursor over the link provided in the email will show it does not go to the website indicated. Be aware of phishing and spoofing attempts through email and do not click any links.
Be aware of fraudulent DWD Facebook pages that mimic the official page for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. There was a fake DWD facebook page that started to reply to comments on DWD's legitimate government Facebook page (WIWorkforce). The fake DWD Facebook page was blocked and reported.
Fake fraud investigators may reach out to claimants by phone or text. One is using the name Katty Wilson, providing a supposed "badge number" 1028, and calling from a San Diego, CA phone number (619) 860-1098, then transferring to a Washington, DC number, (202) 860-2768. NOTE: To confirm a caller is a DWD investigator, the claimant should ask the caller to provide their (1) first name, (2) adjudicator code, and (3) phone number. The claimant may then call the help center at (414) 435-7069 or toll-free (844) 910-3661 to verify the investigator's identity.
DWD will never ask you for your social security number over Facebook Messenger. If you receive a message requesting your personal information, please notify us immediately. Tennessee state reported a fraudulent Facebook page that appeared to be legitimate (using official looking logos and images). View this fraudulent messenger screenshot scamming claimants to send detailed personal information.
Be aware other states have reported Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) phishing emails, like this PUA email from Ohio.
There are also Pandemic UI Assistance emails circulating in Wisconsin. View this Wisconsin phishing email. Clues this is a phishing scam:
View this spoofed U.S. Department of Labor email being sent to UI Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claimants asking you to log in your account and verify recent activity. Be aware of phishing and spoofing attempts through email and do not click any links.
Nefarious actors continue to target state UI systems with increasingly sophisticated hacking schemes to access personal information of UI claimants using credential stuffing (stolen credentials are used to log into web-based systems). Wisconsin recently was one of multiple states to detect unauthorized intrusions of state UI data originating from Japan, South Korea, Russia and inside the U.S. We are working with the USDOL – OIG to investigate the multi-state hacking incident and continue to take additional steps to ensure the safety and security of Wisconsin's UI systems.
DWD has implemented system enhancements to combat these attacks. Specifically, geo-blocking and captcha controls were put in place and improved scans of access activity are being performed.
What can you do? Avoid reusing the same logon credentials (e.g., passwords) on multiple accounts. If you suspect identity theft, go to Report Unemployment Fraud to request a fraud investigation.
Be aware of phishing emails using the names of companies know and trust. Scammers trick you into signing into the trusted company using familiar icons, folders and programs, to steal your personal information. No State Work Force Agency requires you to use a secondary account to sign into their system.
Be aware of numerous schemes related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In one scheme, scammers have offered to help individuals file claims for unemployment benefits, asking for personal information. You do NOT need to pay anyone to file or qualify for your benefits.