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Scam alert!

Important information about scams targeting businesses, those applying for or receiving unemployment insurance, or those looking for a job:

Identity Theft Scams:

E-mail from "NY Division of Unemployment Assistance @detma.org": If you receive an e-mail that claims to be from the "NY Division of Unemployment Assistance @detma.org," do not reply to the message and do not click on the link in the message. The NYS Department of Labor did not send this e-mail and would never request confidential information in this manner. This is an identity theft scam.

E-mail from "info@homerinsurance.com": This e-mail targets businesses and states that a former employee recently filed a claim for benefits with the Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA). The e-mail then asks recipients to contact the sender and provide wage and separation information. Do not reply to the message and do not open the attachment to the e-mail message. The NYS Department of Labor did not send this e-mail and would never request confidential information in this manner. The attachment to this e-mail may also contain a computer virus.

Phone call from someone who says he works at the "labor department" and is calling "to help you find a job": This scam has been reported in the State of Maine. An individual called a nurse, who actually was not looking for work. The caller stated that he worked for the "labor department" and told the nurse he was calling "to help you find a job." The caller was persistent even when the nurse told him that she did not need a new job, saying "we would like to take your name and some personal information and even though you have a job, we will keep this on file and help you in the future." When the nurse asked for the caller's name, he hung up on her. If you receive a call like this, do not give out any personal information. Ask for the caller's name and a phone number that you can call them back at. The NYS Department of Labor would never request confidential information in this manner. This is an identity theft scam.

Companies and websites that say they will help you file for benefits:

The "Direct Deposit" Card: If you receive an e-mail from "Unemployment Advisory Department @support@us-benefits.org" that says "you should be receiving your Direct Deposit Card any day now," ignore it and do not click on the links in the e-mail. The e-mail may include your address and the company's address. If you click on the links, you will be asked to apply for a MAGIC Prepaid MasterCard - a "reloadable card for all your spending needs." Naturally, the site requests your personal information to obtain this "direct deposit card."

You will not receive an e-mail or secure message from us or Chase Bank (the card issuer) that says your debit card will be arriving soon. If you have chosen to receive your unemployment insurance benefits by debit card, you will receive your card in a plain white envelope about one week after you are approved to receive benefits, usually about three to four weeks after you apply.

Companies or websites that come up in web searches: One example is http://www.unemployment-extension.org. This site includes the NYS seal and lists several NYS Department of Labor offices and phone numbers, and looks very official. Another example is http://www.unemploymentassist.com, with an e-mail address of support@unemployment-assist.com. Claimants have arrived at these sites via an Internet search engine (like Google) or Wikipedia.

Please understand that there is no need to share your confidential information with a third party to obtain unemployment insurance benefits. You also do not need to pay a fee to file for benefits. You can file for free on our website at http://www.labor.ny.gov/ or over the telephone at 1-888-209-8124 (in NYS) or 1-877-358-5306 (outside NYS).

At best, these web sites are offering a service that you do not need to pay for. At worst, they may be "phishing" schemes, ways to collect your personal information that could put you at risk for identity theft. If you believe your identity has been compromised, please contact local law enforcement and take steps to protect your identity and that of your employees.

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