Iowa Workforce Development is warning people who are out of work to watch for unemployment scams. Workforce Development spokesperson, Kerry Koonce, says you may find websites that offer to help you file for jobless benefits. These sites guarantee acceptance for a minimal fee, and she says unfortunately people are trying to sign up at these sites, but they haven’t really signed up for unemployment. “On the worst side, they are giving up a Social Security number or they are giving up credit card information to try pay for immediate acceptance and guaranteed approval, and so they are also getting into risk of identity theft and those kinds of things as well,” Koonce says. A request to pay to file for jobless benefits should raise a red flag.
“There shouldn’t be any services that you pay for related for unemployment, when you file on-line through our system you are going to get an e-mail back saying your claim has been accepted and we are in the process of processing it,” Koonce says. If you are filing a new claim, Koonce says there is a 10-day period where an employer can protest the claim. If there is a protest, then you get a fact-finding hearing, and if there is not a protest and you have earned benefits, then the unemployment would begin. Since there is no payment involved, the state will not ask you for financial information. “The only time we would ask for any type of financial-related information would be if you choose to have your payments direct deposited into your checking account, and there is a form you fill out for that,” according to Koonce. “But you would never be asked for credit card information to pay for filing up front.” Koonce says it is understandable how someone might mistakenly try to use a bogus site.
Koonce says anyone can go and search for unemployment and have one of the bogus sites come up. She says the only site you should use to file an unemployment claim is www.iowaworkforce.org. You can file a claim at the I-W-D site 24 hours a day.
(Dar Danielson/Radio Iowa)