Unemployment phone calls spark scam concerns

OSWEGO, N.Y.– Over the past four, weeks 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment due to the coronavirus. This spike in unemployment is the largest one ever recorded since the Department of Labor started recording unemployment data. 

Zachary Wilferth is a SUNY Oswego student who was employed by Campus Technology Services. He filed for unemployment shortly after Governor Cuomo’s P.A.U.S.E executive order went into effect March 22. 

When he received a phone call at 10 p.m. from a private number, he did not answer at first, but then he immediately received a second call from the same number. When he picked up, the caller identified himself as someone with the Department of Labor, working to finalize unemployment applications. 

“I was kind of skeptical about it, but then they started listing off information from the website only they would know,” Zach said. “I wasn’t expecting a call from unemployment at the time. I didn’t hear anything that they would be doing calls until the day after”

Zach didn’t know if the phone call was legitimate until his father watched one of Governor Cuomo’s daily briefings and told him about it.

In the daily briefing, Secretary to the Governor, Melissa DeRosa, urged New Yorkers to answer phone calls from private numbers, stating it may be from the Department of Labor.

DeRosa also said the department of Labor has made more than 200,000 phone calls in an attempt to close up some of the applications. However, only a fraction of the phone calls were answered.