Edmondson, OESC Warn of Websites Aimed at Unemployed
Attorney General Drew Edmondson and Jon Brock, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission(OESC), are warning consumers about scams aimed at Oklahomans who may have fallen on hard times.
“Unemployment is up and jobs are in short supply,” Edmondson said. “The combination of those two facts can create a sense of desperation for consumers, who may be more willing to go out on a limb to procure jobs or benefits. We’re already seeing scammers attempting to take advantage of the unsteady market.”
The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission has received reports from consumers about web sites that promise to provide unemployment-related services, such as assistance filling out unemployment paperwork. Many of these websites promise assistance if users pay a fee, despite the fact that assistance is already available through OESC at no charge.
“OESC is committed to helping Oklahomans file for unemployment benefits and access other workforce services in a quick, safe and secure way,” said Brock. “Through online filing, unemployment call centers and Workforce Oklahoma locations across the state, our customers can do just that free of charge.”
OESC is a major partner in Workforce Oklahoma. Workforce Oklahoma centers are located across the state and provide a variety of services for free, such as assistance with job placement, job searches, skill upgrading, resumes, training providers and career navigation. In-person help with unemployment claims is also available at select Workforce Oklahoma centers across the state. All services are available at no cost to customers.
The attorney general’s office is reviewing the complaints received by OESC for criminal or civil action, but in the meantime, Edmondson wants consumers to be cautious.
“Some of these websites ask consumers to provide specific personal data, including a social security number,” Edmondson said. “Consumers should always be wary of providing their personal and financial data to unknown entities. This is especially true of the Internet.
“Additionally, at least one of these websites gives the appearance of being hosted by a government entity. The fine print states that it is in fact a privately run website, but consumers must read the fine print to get that information,” Edmondson said.
Edmondson and Brock want consumers to know that unemployment help is available, and that desperate times need not have to call for desperate measures.
“By calling OESC or the Workforce Oklahoma center, consumers can receive for free what they would likely pay for on the Internet,” Edmondson said. “Utilizing these offices will also ensure the safety of your personal and financial data. There is simply no reason to put your financial information at risk, especially in times like these when every dollar counts.”
To find the nearest Workforce Oklahoma center to you, call toll-free (888) 980-9675. To file an unemployment claim through OESC, call (405) 525-1500 in the Oklahoma City area or 1-800-555-1554 from all other areas. Claims can also be filed online at www.unemployment.ok.gov.