HARRISBURG, Pa. — People who are waiting for unemployment payments are getting text messages asking for their information to speed along the process and some claimants and quick to respond.
"People are eager to do whatever it is or whatever it takes in order to get access to those monies they feel that they are owed," said AARP Consumer Advocate Mary Bach. She also says don't fall for it, adding "The government just does not act that way."
Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Deputy Press Secretary Sarah DeSantis says these text messages are just another scam.
"The more people are in need, the more they get targeted by scams."
When the Department of L&I announced it would be updating its online unemployment system in June, scammers immediately used that as part of their story to get your money.
However, DeSantis says claimants don't have to do anything right now in preparation for the update.
"There is going to be no need right now for us to call you, and ask you for anything like your username and password, social security number, or your claim number as this point."
DeSantis says you created your username and password with the department of labor and industry, so it makes no sense anyone legitimate would be asking you for that information.
As for the new system, DeSantis says it's kind of like moving from one house to another.
"What we will actually do is turn off the old system and transfer all of the data onto the new system. So there's not going to be a real need for us to go in and ask claimants for their information because we already have it."
Even so, it might be hard to be able to tell if the message your getting is real.
One of the best ways to do that is to pick up the phone and call.
However, the UC call center has been inundated with calls during the pandemic and some people are waiting hours or even days to get through to someone.
DeSantis says they are hiring more people to pick up the phone so you can talk with a real representative.
In the meantime, she says email is the fastest way to get an answer to any question you have about a scam. "Email is usually the fastest way to get through to us." That email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Department of Labor and Industry also plans to relay any new information about the UC system upgrade on its website and social media pages. If anything changes, we'll keep you posted.