Beware Of 'Unofficial' Web Sites

August 1, 2008
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LANSING — The state of Michigan is warning unemployed workers in the state to avoid using independent Web sites to apply for unemployment benefits.

“There is only one official Web site that unemployed workers should use when applying for unemployment benefits in Michigan,” Keith Cooley, director of the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth, stated in a news release. “And that site belongs to the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency at www.michigan.gov/uia.” He added that UIA’s toll-free claims line, (866) 500-0017, is the only number to call to apply for unemployment benefits.

Cooley issued the warning after learning of a woman in southwest Michigan who reportedly had filed an unemployment benefit claim through a private Web site and was charged $19.95 plus an ongoing bi-weekly fee.

“This sort of Web site preys on those who can least afford it,” Cooley said. “These independent sites may look official, but they are not authorized by the state of Michigan. In fact, using them could jeopardize or delay a worker’s benefits and expose them to possible identity theft.”

UIA’s Web site is available to accept unemployment claims between 7 a.m. Monday through 7 p.m. Saturday. Phone applications can be filed weekdays 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., although there is a call-in schedule for Monday through Wednesday based on the last two digits of the caller’s Social Security number.

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