The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has reported that imposters are actively attempting to file false claims to receive benefits during the COVID-19 crisis by using personal information that doesn't belong to them.
If you are concerned that you might be a victim of identity theft,
Attorney General Nessel wants Michiganders to be aware that offers to assist claimants with the benefit process may be scams, and that the answers provided to unemployment-related questions on social media may contain misinformation that encourages claimants to commit fraud.
Michigan residents currently facing challenges regarding unemployment benefits, should be mindful of the following when sharing their frustrations online:
Do not fall for scams. If a post is offering to help you with any portion of the benefit process for a fee, do not fall for it. There is no guarantee that the person behind the post actually can or intends to assist you, and you may never receive the services you pay for. In addition, if a user offers to assist you and requests your personal information, do not fall for it. This is likely an attempt to steal your personal information to commit identity theft and obtain the benefits that you are rightfully entitled to.
Answers may not be accurate. The information provided on social media has not been vetted and may not be accurate. While the answers may seem – at first glance – to provide quick fixes, you may ultimately be led down the wrong path. This could result in further delays in your receipt of benefits, the denial of benefits, and in the case of fraud, administrative or criminal penalties.
Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
To ensure you have accurate information and follow the proper channels, visit the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency’s (UIA) website. Claimants may also call the UIA Customer Service line at 866-500-0017 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and follow the prompts.
The Consumer Protection team helps protect Michigan residents from bad actors who have one primary goal: to trick us out of our hard-earned money. As technology advances, they get more creative with their approach. They prey on anyone vulnerable - especially seniors.
Consumer Protection handles 10,000 consumer complaints each year, provides numerous educational resources online, and issues consumer alerts on scams, data breaches and any other consumer-related issue our residents should be aware of.
My Office of Public Information and Education and the Consumer Protection team is also instrumental in leading our initiative to crack down on the overwhelming amount of robocalls we all receive each day, and with an estimated 1.5 billion calls to Michigan residents in 2019 – that support is necessary.
The Act does not:
The Attorney General’s office helps consumers by informally mediating complaints. In many cases, this assistance will help you resolve your problem.
When we receive your complaint, we will send you a confirmation receipt with your assigned Attorney General file number. We receive thousands of complaints, so it may take a few weeks until your complaint is fully processed.
Our process includes a letter from our Consumer Protection team to the business or individual identified in your complaint. A copy of your complaint and submitted materials will be included with a request for a response. We will contact you in writing after we have received a reply. If we do not hear back from the business or individual identified in your complaint within 30 days, we will recontact them regarding your complaint.
In some cases, we may be unable to get any cooperation from the business or individual. If they refuse to respond, we will confirm this to you in writing. If our mediation is not successful, the Attorney General cannot act as a private attorney on your behalf. You may then want to consider filing suit in Small Claims Court or consulting with a private attorney to review your legal options.
Scammers have one goal: to get your personal -- especially financial -- information. Scams will always include one or more of the following tactics:
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) warned Michigan residents to watch for scams related to the coronavirus disease 2019. These scams include websites selling fake products, and fabricated emails, texts and social media posts used to steal money and personal information.
The emails and posts may be promoting awareness and prevention tips along with phony information about cases in residents’ neighborhoods. They may also ask for donations to victims, provide advice on unproven treatments or contain damaging attachments.
When someone uses your Social Security number (SSN) to file a phony tax return and claim your refund, that’s tax-related identity theft. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is often the first to let you know your identity has been stolen. In other cases, you may first learn of the fraud from some other unexpected source, like when you are turned down for a loan because a fake return was filed reporting an income less than what you actually earn.