Unemployment Insurance Scam Spreads to Maine Bookmark and Share

November 20, 2012

Employers in Maine have reported receiving scam emails

AUGUSTA—The Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) warns employers of a spreading identity theft scam that attempts to lure employers into providing sensitive employee information. The department first issued a warning last week, but has since learned that employers in Maine and New Hampshire have been targeted in the past few days.

The scam attempts to trick employers into responding to an email looking as if it is sent from a state’s “Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA).” The email, which looks similar to legitimate job separation requests used by state unemployment agencies, requests wage and separation information on a “former employee” trying to file a claim for unemployment benefits and directs the employer to click on a link to an embedded website address.

The email is generic and does not reference specific employees or businesses by name. However, the link in the email takes users to a website in South Africa.

Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette warned businesses, “This scam is coming close to home for Maine employers. Beware of suspicious emails and call us anytime if you have questions.”

“Don’t respond or click on the link in any email from @detma.org. Do not provide sensitive employee data to anyone by email unless you know that you have an open and active claim with the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation of the Maine Department of Labor. All our departmental email addresses end with ‘@maine.gov,’” Paquette advised.

The department advises any business that believes it has been compromised to contact local law enforcement and take steps to protect employees’ identities and the business.

Maine’s Bureau of Unemployment Compensation (BUC) does not send out unsolicited emails requesting confidential information. It does not collect information on behalf of other state’s unemployment systems.

BUC emails include a specific reference to a business and the specific employee(s) under review. BUC’s emails are signed by a person employed by the BUC with their contact information and use the “@maine.gov” email address.

Businesses that think they might have been targeted should contact Maine’s Bureau of Unemployment Compensation at (207) 621-5100.

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This story was updated at 4:30 p.m. on November 20 to reflect reports of businesses in Maine receiving these emails.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 20, 2012 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 207-621-5009