Reports of cell phone scam aimed at phishing information from unemployment applicants
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.
- Always keep your unemployment debit card (ReliaCard) safe and do not share your debit card PIN with anyone.
- Unemployment Insurance or U.S. Bank staff will never ask you for your ReliaCard PIN or ReliaCard account number via email, phone or text message.
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:
- Use only the official Minnesota Unemployment Insurance (UI) website www.uimn.org to find information about the program, apply for benefits, or to access your account.
- Do not provide personal information to unauthorized websites that claim to help you apply for unemployment benefits.
- Do not provide private information by email. The Minnesota UI program does not request information by email.
- Use caution when researching unemployment benefits on the internet. There are websites that offer incorrect advice based on personal experience or the laws in other states. This incorrect information could adversely affect your eligibility for benefits if you act upon it.
- Check our website or call us if you have questions. We are here to help you.