TALLAHASSEE - Attorney General Bill McCollum and Cynthia R. Lorenzo, interim director for Workforce Innovation, issued a joint consumer advisory on March 5 warning Floridians to be wary of companies offering to file unemployment compensation claims for a fee.
Recent reports from other states indicate consumers have signed up for such services, only to later discover unemployment claims were never filed on their behalf. Of equal concern is that consumers have also provided their social security numbers, thinking they were dealing with state agencies.
“It really is unthinkable that a con artist would try to victimize someone trying to receive assistance in a time of need,” McCollum said. “I encourage Floridians to remain vigilant to prevent falling for this scam.”
“We are dedicated to helping Floridians receive the unemployment benefits to which they are entitled,” Lorenzo said. “The Agency for Workforce Innovation offers free, convenient and secure online filing at our Web site, www.floridajobs.com.”
Some states have reported complaints from consumers who have conducted internet searches for “unemployment claims” or similar terms which provided results including private companies. Consumers are then directed to provide their social security numbers and receive e-mails from the companies saying their claim is being processed. Complaints from other states also indicated that consumers were told that for a fee, they could receive help on their resumes, and while terms and conditions are posted on the Web sites, they aren’t always readily apparent to consumers.
McCollum and the Agency for Workforce Innovation encourages consumers to be wary of providing personal information such as social security numbers to unknown entities. Floridians are also reminded that there is no charge for filing unemployment claims.
Consumers who believe they may have been victimized by potentially deceptive or unfair practices should contact the Attorney General’s Office by calling 1-866-966-7226 or by visiting www.myfloridalegal.com.