Michael Harrington, 4-10-2020

Vermont labor commissioner Michael Harrington updates reporters on the state’s high unemployment figures during a press conference in April 2020.

MONTPELIER — The Vermont Department of Labor (VDOL) reminds all Vermonters and those looking to contact VDOL to only do so through verified and approved methods.

Recent fraud alerts sent out by the National Unemployment Insurance Fraud Task Force (NUIFTF) detail national phishing attempts through social media, where fraudulent pages attempt to communicate directly with unemployment insurance claimants online.

Here are some tips from the state for detecting a potential scam:

FEES: There is no fee to file for unemployment insurance benefits. VDOL will never ask you for a debit or credit card number to process a claim. If you receive a call from an individual asking for your debit or credit card or asking you to send money, it is a scam. The department will never ask you to send money over a phone call to establish or review your claim.

FALSE WEBSITES: Websites that state they can assist claimants in filing for unemployment benefits or finding a job after being laid off for a fee are fraudulent. Often these sites request personal identifiable information (SSN, DOB, driver’s license number, etc.). Only use the official VDOL website for information on filing an unemployment claim.

SOCIAL MEDIA: If claimants wish to contact the Department of Labor through social media, only do so through official VDOL accounts — @VTLabor on Facebook and Twitter. VDOL will only interact with individuals through these accounts on a limited basis. In these instances, VDOL representatives will most likely provide suggestions to contact Claimant Assistance, answers to simple inquiries (operating hours, dates, deadlines, etc.), and links back to the official VDOL website. In some instances, limited account information may be requested to assist individuals further with requests.

PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE DOCUMENTS: Some scammers ask you to upload or mail a copy of your driver’s license, birth certificate or social security card. This information would never be requested by the Department by someone without a “@vermont.gov” email address.

OUTSIDE AGENCIES: VDOL will not email you soliciting to apply for unemployment through an outside agent or third-party agency.

UNFAMILIAR MAILING ADDRESS: VDOL will never require you to mail personally identifiable information to an out of state address. Any correspondence mailed to you or requested to be mailed to the Department will always be associated with official Vermont Department of Labor mailing addresses.

To report suspected fraudulent activity, please contact the Vermont Attorney General’s Office at: Consumer Protection Unit, (800) 649-2424.

Additionally, VDOL has continued to work with Facebook in reporting pages impersonating the department and asking claimants to contact them in various ways (phone, text messaging and unfamiliar web links). VDOL recently worked with the platform to have its page verified, adding additional assurance to claimants wishing to interact with the department through the platform.

However, when looking to contact or interact with VDOL, Vermont unemployment insurance claimants should first visit labor.vermont.gov for the most up-to date information or contact the Claimant Assistance Center directly. This can be done by phone or through the LIVE CHAT feature on the department’s website.

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