Michigan attorney general warns of social media unemployment scams

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

 Lansing — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a consumer alert Thursday, cautioning residents that offers of assistance with unemployment claims on social media are "likely scams."

As the state faces record jobless claims during the COVID-19 pandemic and some filers have experienced lengthy wait times for benefits, Nessel said people should "stay alert when taking to social media for answers or advice."

"There is no guarantee that these answers have been vetted or that the individuals promising to help can actually do so," the Democratic attorney general said. "Do not under any circumstance pay a fee or offer up your personal information to someone on social media."

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

The statement said people shouldn't "fall" for offers of help with their benefit claims in exchange for a fee. There's no guarantee the person behind the post actually intends to provide assistance, the Attorney General's Office says.

If someone behind an offer of assistance on social media also requests personal information, it's likely an attempt to steal personal information to commit identity theft and steal benefits, the office added.

Michigan and other states have experienced a wave of fraudulent unemployment claims during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Attorney General's Office says people should visit the Unemployment Insurance Agency's website to get accurate information about the process.

On Wednesday, Steve Gray, director of the Unemployment Insurance Agency, told state lawmakers the agency has paid out more than $14 billion in benefits to more than 2.1 million people.