State’s workforce department warns of surging fraud attempts

Dwd Warning

MADISON, Wis. (WKBT) — The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development issued a warning to residents of the state about a significant increase in fraudulent activity during the past 24 hours related to unemployment insurance benefits.

The DWD received reports Wednesday of an email phishing attack coming from a fake account called the “Wisconsin Department of Workforce.”

The email, which requests unemployment insurance information, includes a link to a document where the recipient is asked to fill in personal information. Although unemployment insurance claims specialists and adjudicators can send secure messages through the UI claims portal, they will never request information through email, according to a DWD news release.

Scammers also are trying to access information through social media, warned the DWD, which worked with Facebook Wednesday to take down a fake DWD page that popped up overnight. Scammers were using the fake account to interact with people commenting on DWD’s legitimate Facebook page.

The fraudulent account was shut down quickly, and it does not appear that anyone gave out personal information. The DWD’s real Facebook page has a blue checkmark that indicates it is a verified account.

The department also reported several accounts to Twitter that were phishing for information from posters on that platform.

The DWD has been receiving an unusually high number calls to its IT Helpdesk for password resets or authorizations. The callers appear to be mostly impersonators attempting to gain access to unemployment insurance accounts.

DWD’s UI Fraud Investigations Unit is verifying whether calls are legitimate before any action is taken to change account information.

If you receive a request for information and are unsure if it came from Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance, contact a claims specialist at (414) 435-7069, or toll free at (844) 910-3661.

For more information about how to protect yourself from unemployment fraud and scams, go to the DWD’s website.

If you think you’ve been a victim of identity theft, contact the Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 422-7128 or