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This is what to do if you fall victim to an unemployment scam

This is what to do if you fall victim to an unemployment scam


Here are some tips from Fort Collins Police Services on how to identify an email or phone scam. Wochit

In the last few weeks, the Indiana Department of Workforce Department, the state’s Attorney General’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have all asked Hoosiers to report a scam that has siphoned off $120,000 in unemployment benefits through phishing texts.

But yet, people still don’t know how to report the scam or what to do next. 

It’s a problem that goes well beyond unemployment scams.

As the number of scams and phishing attacks that target people’s identities and money become more frequent, infrastructure to respond to these attacks lags behind, said Scott Shackelford, the Cybersecurity Program Chair at Indiana University.

“There’s a lot of confusion. We don’t make it easy on people when it comes to who they should call,” he said. “Even when you report it, sometimes you get an automated response. Or even if you speak to an agent, you might not get something meaningful to happen.”

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There’s no universal number to call that’s comparable to dialing 911, he said. Ideally, there would be a number for all scams where trained people can talk people through steps they can take such as freezing their credit.

George Brenner knows that frustration all too well. When scammers applied to unemployment with his information, he submitted paper work to report the incident and never heard back.

“I would only presume there’s nothing but inaction on this,” he said. 

Similarly, when Elkhart resident Heidi Compton’s son tried to report the scam by calling the DWD, he never got through, she said.

That’s a common experience for people who tried to call the department that’s been overwhelmed with cases since the pandemic forced businesses to lay off or furlough an unprecedented number of people over the past 15 months.

While cyber attacks have been around for decades, they’ve become more frequent in recent years as increasing technology use allows for more opportunities to steal information and money. That’s especially true for unemployment offices that have doled out billions in benefits to support the crush of people who found themselves jobless.

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Since last year, there has been more than 3,200 complaints regarding unemployment scams or fraud, according to the Indiana Attorney General’s office. Many of these attacks come from outside of the country, which makes it hard to track and prosecute. 

One in five government or private organizations in Indiana has suffered a cyberattack in the past three years, according to an Indiana University survey of more than 300 agencies and businesses.

Despite the frequency of these attacks, there’s insufficient data about the scale of the problem, Shackelford said.

“There’s patchy framework of data to build good policy on top of,” he said. “It’s not clear how many cyber attacks there are, how much they cost us, what variety they come in.”

Here are some things to know about what to do if you’re scammed.

Can I get my money back if scammers took my benefits?

if you lost payments, you need to fill out State Form 57068 and another report with the state police (which can be emailed to and the DWD will investigate and repay you the benefits lost. Those employed also need to alert their employer’s human resources department and file forms with the state police, attorney general’s office and or the FBI. 

What do I do if my information was stolen?

There are multiple departments who can help with stolen identity. After reporting to them, notify your credit bureau.

Here are the forms:

What’s the best way to report scams to the Department of Workforce Department?

Those who have been targeted by scams should send a screenshot of the attempt to

However, if you clicked on the link that potentially compromised your personal information, you need to call the DWD Contact Center.

What if a scammer changed my information for my unemployment account?

Change your password to something unique and check your payment options to make sure it’s routed to your bank. If you’re locked out, call DWD at 1-800-891-6499.

Contact IndyStar reporter Binghui Huang at 317-385-1595 or Follow her on Twitter @Binghuihuang

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Published at Mon, 07 Jun 2021 09:44:21 +0000