Michigan officials warn of email scam targeting unemployment claimants

Scam email claims to be sent from Unemployment Insurance Agency

Email app (Pixlr)

Michigan officials are warning residents of an email scam that is attempting to retrieve personal information from individuals collecting unemployment benefits.

According to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, an email is being sent to claimants seeking personal information. The email is being sent from a Gmail account that appears to be from the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) -- it is not.

Anyone who receives this email should not respond or provide any personal information to the sender. Nessel said Wednesday that there is “no government agency, state or federal, that uses Gmail for official purposes.”

Nessel warns that the scammer may even attach what appears to be actual communication from the UIA in an effort to “strengthen the credibility of the email.”

View an image of the scam email below, courtesy of Nessel’s office.

Michigan residents are being warned of an email scam targeting individuals who collect unemployment benefits. The email (pictured) appears to be come from a Gmail account and may event contain attachments from the Unemployment Insurance Agency to strengthen their credibility. Image courtesy of the office of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. (Michigan Department of Attorney General)

Officials say the UIA would never ask a claimant to reply to an email with personal information.

“Responses to ID verification requests from UIA should only be uploaded through your secure Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM) account online at the UIA’s website,” officials said.

Anyone who has fallen for this scam should report fraud or identity theft with the UIA immediately. You can file a report on the Michigan UIA website right here. Those individuals are also encouraged to monitor their banking and account information each time they certify for benefits.

“Bad actors are increasingly sophisticated in their efforts to deceive people into giving away personal information,” Nessel said. “This is one of the cruelest scams I’ve ever seen because it targets vulnerable residents who are desperate to receive their UIA benefits -- so desperate that they may not inspect the email address to confirm its validity.”


About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.