Don't Be A Victim: Avoid Unemployment Scams

Avoid Unemployment Scams

Don't Be A Victim

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.

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

NOTE: If a claimant wishes to confirm that a caller is, in fact, Wisconsin DWD UI staff, 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 that individual is assigned to their claim.

Please be aware of potential fraud and report any and all unemployment fraud.

Scams Targeting Claimants

April 2021 Fraud Alert: Wisconsin UI Text Scam

We have received reports of individuals receiving text messages claiming they had to verify information to continue receiving UI or PUA payments. You will not receive a text message from the department if you have not opted in to text messages. Also, if you have opted in and do receive a text message, make sure the link is valid. Reports indicate the invalid links were from a .com site or included "unemploy.ment." Our link will end with .gov: ""

March 2021 Fraud Alert: Wisconsin UI Email Scam

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.

March 2021 Fraud Alert: Fake DWD Facebook Page

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.

How can you tell what's real and what's fake? Our legitimate Facebook Page has a blue checkmark that indicates it is a verified account.
Blue checkmark on Facebook

March 2021 Fraud Alert: Fake Fraud Investigators

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.

December 2020 Fraud Alert: Fraudulent Facebook Page

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.

November 2020 Fraud Alert: PUA Phishing Emails

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:

  • Email address on the To: line would read "John Doe" ( if it were legitimate.
  • Sender of phishing email refers to John Does as "firstpartofemail" in the greeting in the email body. An legitimate email from DWD would not refer to him by his email address and would use his name.
  • Holding the cursor over the links provided in the email show that they do not go to the website indicated in the text of the link.

October 2020 Fraud Alert: Spoofed PUA Email from U.S. DOL

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.

September/October 2020 Fraud Alert: Credential Stuffing Hacking Schemes

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.

image of fraud alert graphic

June 2020 Fraud Alert: Trusted Company Scams

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.

For screenshots of these phishing emails and more information view this Fraud Alert Flyer from the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Labor (En Español).

May 2020 Fraud Alert: COVID-19 Pandemic UI Scams

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.

For more information on these COVID-19 scams view this Fraud Alert Flyer from the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Labor (En Español).

  • 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 theft 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.