Brooklyn Boro

Attorney General warns of unemployment benefit scams amid unprecedented complaints

June 25, 2020 Rob Abruzzese
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Along with unprecedented unemployment claims in New York State come scammers.

On Wednesday, New York Attorney General Letitia James identified some of the more common scams involving unemployment benefits on her website and warned New Yorkers not to fall for them.

“We must remain vigilant about potential scams and ensure residents remain alert,” Attorney General James said. “During these uncertain times, unemployment benefits are a safety net for many individuals and families who have lost their jobs. To exploit the use of these funds and overload a system that is already processing unprecedented numbers of claims per day is as shameful as it is illegal.

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“My office remains committed to holding accountable anyone who violates the law, and I continue to encourage the public to report suspected scams to my office,” James continued.

James’ office has claimed that it has received an unprecedented number of calls regarding unemployment benefit scams after scammers have allegedly gained access to detailed databases with personally identifiable information. This has supposedly allowed scammers to use “mules” to act as intermediaries for filing fake claims.

James warns that if people are contacted by the NYS Department of Labor about unemployment claims that they did not apply for, they are likely victims of identity theft and should consult her website for the resources.

James suggested that people should be suspicious of anyone who calls over the phone seeking money or personal information and pointed out that legitimate agencies will contact people in writing. She warned not to give out personal information over the phone unless they can independently verify the authenticity of the caller.

Victims of unemployment benefits fraud can also contact the NYS Department of Labor.


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  1. Paul Griggs

    This article and the statements from the Attorney General fail to note that the unemployment scam is much broader than she described. Unemployment claims were filed for some of our employees. These employees received a notice at home that was fraudulent (appeared to be from the state government) and we received a legitimate notice from the state government asking us to confirm the employees were actually unemployed. The fraudulent claims have the names right, employee salaries and social security numbers but the home addresses are either outdated or off by a few numbers (911 1st St instead of 908 1st St). We have answered no phony scam calls or emails and don’t have electronic copies of all of the PII. The article should note that the hacking probably could also have been done to a government agency (DOL, IRS, etc.) or a third party provider such as a payroll service.