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FOX43 Finds Out: Is this unemployment call real or a scam?

A York County woman gets a call on a Sunday morning with no caller ID. The person claims to work for unemployment. Is it a scam? FOX43 Finds Out.

YORKANA, Pa. — When you get a call from a blocked number, do you answer it?

For some reason, on a Sunday morning, Jenna Daugherty did.

"I'd like to think people that people are good people," said said.

The York County woman is one of 44,000 people in Pennsylvania who are still waiting to get their unemployment benefits.

The woman on the phone said her name was Sandy and that she was calling from the State Department of Labor and Industry to help Daugherty with her unemployment payments.

"She didn't ask for my social security, didn't ask for any of that information, my pin number or anything, so I was like OK, this might be legit," said Daugherty 

The caller just wanted Daugherty to log into her own account and file her bi-weekly claims.

"I asked her for her number and she would not give it to me, she said I can't, we don't do callbacks because we're so busy, but she was like 'I'll call you once I get into your account and see that you OK'd all your claims."

To Daugherty's surprise, Sandy did call back, again from an unknown caller ID.

"She called me back like 5 minutes later and was like you're good to go, your money should be in your account tomorrow."

But the money wasn't there the next day.

That's when Daugherty started to question the legitimacy of the call since it was coming from a blocked number on a weekend.

"I even said that to her, I was like weird you're calling me on a Sunday morning. and she was like Oh we're so backed up, we're working on Sundays now."

Weeks later, Daugherty still didn't have the thousands of dollars she was owed in unemployment payments.

She tried to contact the Department of Labor and Industry, with no luck.
"Obviously at this point I'm very frustrated because you cannot get a hold of unemployment, you cannot get a hold of anybody."

FOX43 Finds Out did get in touch with the unemployment office.

A spokesperson told us that yes, the office is staffed 7 days a week to help with claims and that means people can get a call on a Sunday.

And the reason for a blocked number? The spokesperson said that's because of the software the department is using while its staff continues to work from home.

Then shortly after we contacted the office, the department reached back out to Daugherty and she started getting her money.

"The call was just a little weird, to get a Sunday morning call and them asking for information, I guess it really just was someone from unemployment trying to help me out," said Daugherty.

So yes, people waiting to hear from the unemployment office may get a call any day of the week from a blocked number.

However, it's what that person asks you for that could be the difference between a real call and a scam.

The Department of Labor and Industry says a caller should be able to reference information that a claimant provided on their unemployment paperwork.

They may ask for the last 4 digits of someone's social security number, but never the full number.

While this call doesn't seem to be a scam, we do know there is fraud related to unemployment payments.

Here's what you can the Department of Labor and Industry says you should do:

If you suspect or know that someone is using your personal information such as your name, Social Security Number, or date of birth without your knowledge or consent to file for unemployment benefits, complete and submit the Identity Theft Form.  

Unemployment claims fraud – if you know of individuals who are collecting unemployment benefits illegally, including people who are working and not reporting their wages for PA UC benefit purposes; or people who cannot work due to an illness, disability or incarceration, complete and submit the Unemployment Claims Fraud Form.

You can also call the PA Fraud Hotline: 1-800-692-7469.

People should also contact the police. File a police report with the municipality you resided in at the time the unemployment benefits in question were paid. A copy of the police report must be provided to the Office of Unemployment Compensation.

If you are a victim of identity theft you may also report it to the Federal Trade Commission and start a recovery plan at www.identitytheft.gov.

If you have a story you want Jackie to look into, FOX43 wants to Find out. Send her a message on Facebook or email FOX43FindsOut@FOX43.com.