On Unemployment in Iowa? Don’t Fall for This Scam

Kimberly Ritter

Iowans on unemployment have been targeted by a fraudulent website that is attempting to collect their personal information. Here’s what you need to know and what to look out for.

Unemployment scam targeting IowansImage courtesy of Deposit Photos

Have you recently applied for unemployment in Iowa or are getting ready to? If so, you’ll want to be extra aware that you are protecting your personal information.

This week, Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) has issued warnings about a group that is attempting to fraud those on unemployment. This group is using a website that mirrors the IWD claims portal to collect personal information.

Iowans applying for unemployment insurance benefits should only file an application through the official IWD website at www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov. Any other variation of this link is not an official IWD website and could put your personal information and identity at risk.

These fraudsters are obtaining identity information from many sources, such as from fraudulent phishing scams and recent large-scale private sector data breaches that included private information from millions of individuals. According to Iowa Workforce Development, IWD has not suffered any data breaches, but all claimants must be vigilant in protecting their identity.

Iowans are reminded to protect their personal information, sign in credentials and passwords. Individuals should also take care to establish usernames and passwords that are difficult for an outside person or computer to generate.

IWD urges Iowans to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity related to unemployment claims.  Here are some of the indicators of fraudulent activity and what to look out for.

  • A text message or mailing from IWD notifying you of a claim in your name when you have not filed an unemployment insurance claim.
  • Any notification that contains information appearing from IWD asking you to log in or provides you a different website than the official IWD website.
  • A 1099-G from IWD stating you have income from unemployment insurance when you have not filed for or received unemployment insurance during the last calendar year. 
  • A fact-finding call or notice from IWD when you have not filed a claim for unemployment insurance. 
  • Your employer notifying you of a notice they received that an unemployment claim was filed. 
  • Anything you may suspect as fraudulent banking activity. 

According to Iowa Public Radio, the state of Iowa has fielded at least 37,000 fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits since the COVID-19 pandemic began. That averages out to more than 87 fraudulent claims filed each day of the pandemic.

Those claims are tied specifically to identity theft, wherein people have filed claims pretending to be real Iowans who may or may not be jobless.

Do you think you might have been a victim of unemployment fraud? If you suspect fraudulent activity, contact IWD immediately by one of the following. Either email UIfraud@iwd.iowa.gov or call 1-866-239-0843 . You can also file a report here.

Need more information? Customers can also visit this website if they believe they have been a victim of identity theft: Additional information is available online from the United States Department of Labor here.

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