Iowa Workforce Development officials today are warning that a number of fraudulent web sites have popped up since the department closed three dozen local offices across the state and moved to online access of its services.
Teresa Wahlert, director of Workforce Development, said Iowans can file unemployment claims at the department's web site 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but said fraudulent sites exist whose use may jeopardize a user's benefits and potentially exposes them to identify theft.
"These web sites prey on those most vulnerable who are simply looking for help," she said. "We want every Iowan to know that filing for unemployment is a free service provided by Iowa Workforce Development."
State officials said that though the fraudulent web sites look official, they are not authorized or endorsed by the state. While the sites may promise prompt response or guaranteed approval, in many cases they may jeopardize or delay weekly benefits and could expose Iowans to identity theft, state officials said.
"You will not be automatically approved for unemployment no matter how much you pay," Wahlert said. "Procedures are in place to ensure a fair and equal system for both employers and individuals. We try to process all claims in a timely manner, but there is no automatic way to be approved."