Consumer First Alert: Nationwide unemployment scam

Published: Jun. 7, 2020 at 10:30 AM CDT
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Action 2 News has learned people in Wisconsin could be victims of a massive nationwide unemployment scam.The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in record unemployment claims.

We're learning hundreds of people in Wisconsin could be potential victims in a massive case of unemployment fraud, reportedly international hackers taking advantage during the crisis.

Administrator Division of Trade and Consumer Protection, Lara Sutherlin said, “It is a concerted effort by outside sources and it's happening around the country as I understand it.”

Sutherlin said they're working with the Department of Workforce Development investigating more than three hundreds cases of unemployment fraud.

"DWD is seeing a lot of fraud around the unemployment insurance, so you should call DWD directly for information about that and also people are fraudulently applying on your behalf. Make sure when you see emails or texts related to that, check with DWD and see what's happening, because they have reported a number of cases, 350 in fact,” said Sutherlin.

DWD has a fraud alert posted online:

Warning about pandemic fraud scheme -- scammers may target people with unsolicited calls on social media even door to door visits. Consumer Protection is working with people who've filed reports to help them protect their identity if they've been exposed. With widespread COVID-19 testing, the state is also warning about scammers pretending to be contact tracers.

“We know there's a lot of contact tracing going on trying to track the people who have been infected and have been exposed, we're seeing unfortunately scams related to that we're seeing texts and phishing emails,” said Sutherlin.

Report pandemic related scams.

Check consumer protection hotline: (800) 422-7128. Go to sources of information you trust is a resource. Remember if anyone asks for money it's a scam.

“It's very upsetting and one of the downsides of us all moving online is these scams are just viral. They’re all over the place. It's how we communicate how we get information now and scammers are watching the headlines they're fully aware of our presence online and they're taking advantage of it,” said Sutherlin.

Wisconsin has set up a website to assist in locating accurate information ( and it provides links to relevant information on a wide variety such as unemployment, education and small business loans.