Even though there are lots of bad job sites and so many employment-related scams and unemployment scams that it's almost impossible to keep track of them, there is one site that earned the top spot on my worst (un)employment website list this year.
It's not the only site like this, of course, but the timing of the information it distributed online was really unfortunate.
The website (unemployment-extension.org) issued a press release, later proven to be false, which said that unemployment had been extended in all states (it hadn't been) and directed jobless workers to its website to file for extended unemployment benefits.
It issued yet another press release on December 17, after the International Business Times report on the first false press release, which says "Early filing requests for the 2012 unemployment extension are to be made at http://www.Unemployment-Extension.Org for all 50 States."
Unemployment benefit claims cannot be filed on this site or on any other third party website and there was no early or any other filing available until Congress passed legislation extending unemployment benefits through February 2012 on December 23.
It has updated the site since then, but it continues to collect personal information, which according to the Internal Business Times, it says it uses for "... getting people back to school." It still says "Unemployment Claim Form" "Begin Filing" and "Claim Unemployment Now" on the front page of the site, though the fine print says it "This is not an application for state unemployment benefits or enrollment."
In my opinion, the website gave false information to unemployed workers at a critical time of year - when federal unemployment benefits were in danger of expiring. It also got them to submit personal information without clarifying what the information was for. It's still misleading unless you carefully read through the disclaimers on the site.
Unfortunately for the people who share their information with these types of websites, the only way to file for unemployment benefits is through your state unemployment office. Third party sites cannot accept or process unemployment benefit applications.
Here are official warnings issued by the Department of Labor and State Unemployment Offices:
- Consumer Alert: Unemployment Insurance Online Scam
- Online Scam Targets Unemployed
- Phishing Effort Targets Unemployed
As I said, there are many online scams and it's important to know what to watch for so you don't get taken advantage of. Here's information on unemployment scams and employment-related scams and how to avoid them. If you are aware of a scam, here's how to report a scam.
List a Scam: Have you been scammed or almost scammed? Add an unemployment scam to our list.
Image Copyright Kirby Hamilton