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State Warns Against Fraudulent Unemployment Filing Sites

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - With one of the heavier months for filing unemployment claims ahead, state officials cautioned Iowans to avoid web sites that make fraudulent claims to guaranteed approvals or higher benefits.

Iowans already can file their unemployment claims online 24 hours a day by using the agency's online filing feature at www.iowaworkforce.org : click here, officials said.

"Unfortunately, a lot of times people will just type "unemployment" into a search engine and these other sites will come up," said Kerry Koonce, Iowa Workforce Development spokeswoman.

Koonce said none of the sites can file a unemployment claim on behalf of the customer, and yet they require personal information such as birth date and Social Security number that can be used to commit identity theft.

The slow economy seems to have fueled the proliferation of the web sites preying on the unemployed, Koonce said, adding that "there are tons of them out there."

Using the commercial web sites does not in any way guarantee the approval of claims and may actually delay the process, Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert said in prepared remarks.

"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."