DWS warns against Unemployment Insurance scams

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services (DWS) warns unemployment insurance claimants about potential scams aiming to steal personal information. Be aware of potential fraud and only use the official website wyui.wyo.gov to file an online claim.

“With all the uncertainty and all the upheaval caused by this pandemic, the environment is exactly what scammers are hoping for,” said DWS Workforce Programs Administrator Holly McKamey Simoni. “Please be cautious of fraud artists who are hoping to steal your personal information.”

Scammers often target individuals who have filed unemployment insurance claims, though there is evidence that a large fraud operation is using stolen personal information from people who have not filed claims, as well. Anyone who has not filed for unemployment insurance and who receives a letter or a U.S. Bank debit card from our Unemployment Insurance division should report it to doe.state.wy.us/uifraudreporting/ immediately.

Here is some information to keep in mind in order to prevent fraud related to Unemployment Insurance:

No fee: There is no fee to file for unemployment compensation. DWS will never ask for a debit card or other method of payment in order to process a claim. If you get a phone call from someone identifying themselves as a representative of DWS, do not send money.

False websites: Several websites advertise they can assist claimants in filing for unemployment benefits. Some of these sites offer services free of charge and others charge for services. These sites often ask for confidential/private information such as your Social Security number, address, work history and email address. Use only the official DWS website wyui.wyo.gov to file for unemployment. For accurate information about Unemployment Insurance, please visit the DWS website at WyomingWorkforce.org. DWS does not work with or endorse any private service claiming that they can assist applicants to apply for benefits.

Facebook messenger: Several people have reported being contacted by a person claiming to be an Unemployment Insurance representative through a private message from our Facebook site. While we will often send private messages to help individuals get answers to their unemployment insurance questions, we will only ask for a name and telephone number. We have been asking for the last four digits of the claimant’s Social Security number, but we will no longer ask for that. Do not give your personal information to anyone through social media, including Facebook Messenger.

Personal documents: Some fraudsters will ask claimants to upload a copy of their driver’s license, birth certificate, etc., to a website or ask claimants to send copies of those documents to an email address. DWS will not ask you to upload any documents with personal information — instead, you will be asked to fax or mail the documents. Documents with personal information should only be faxed to the number 307-473-3726 or mailed to DWS-Unemployment Insurance, PO Box 2760, Casper, WY 82602. Do not send your personal documents to any email address or upload them to any website.

Verification: Fraudsters may demand that you verify your identity within 24 hours to process your claim. DWS will not send such requests. After filing an initial claim, the claimant will receive an online secure message in wyui.wyo.gov and/or information via email or postal mail with a monetary determination of benefits.

Online surveys: DWS does not pay claimants to take surveys. If you receive an email requesting you complete an online survey that appears to be from the DWS, do not complete the survey. This is likely an attempt to get your personal information.

“We urge everyone to be careful with their personal information,” McKamey Simoni said. “Check the website at WyomingWorkforce.org for the latest information.”

In some cases, the Unemployment Insurance division may ask a claimant to appear in person and with their identification at the nearest Workforce Center. This is the safest way to ensure the validity of a claimant’s identity.

To report incidents of attempted fraud or scams, call the General Fraud Hotline at 888-996-9226. You may also report fraud relating to Unemployment Insurance by calling 307-235-3658 or completing the online UI Fraud form at doe.state.wy.us/uifraudreporting/.