Several states are reporting scams involving voice or text messages sent to unemployment applicants' phones. These messages tell applicants their unemployment account has been de-activated or suspended and to reactivate by calling a phone number that is provided. When the number is called, the applicant is asked to enter or provide confidential account information, including debit card numbers and personal identification numbers (PIN). The scammers are then able to access the debit card account and steal funds.
Neither the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance program nor U.S. Bank, who issues the unemployment debit card (ReliaCard Visa), contacts applicants through text messaging. If you receive a communication that appears to be asking for this kind of information, do not respond.
There are a number of "unauthorized" websites that offer assistance with applying for unemployment insurance benefits. Some of these websites charge a fee, others do not. Often these websites ask you to enter private information including your Social Security number, address, work history and email address. Some people who have used these websites report that they received unsolicited emails about their unemployment status.
In order to help you protect your privacy, avoid unwanted emails, and receive the most accurate, detailed, timely information we suggest you follow these tips: