CADILLAC — Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a consumer alert Thursday to warn Michiganders about misinformation as many turn to social media for help obtaining unemployment benefits.

Nessel encouraged Michiganders to be aware that offers via social media to assist claimants with the benefit process are likely scams, and that the answers provided to unemployment-related questions may contain misinformation that encourages claimants to commit fraud.

“Our state has seen an unprecedented uptick in unemployment claims as a result of COVID-19," Nessel said. "Delays in processing have caused a great deal of frustration for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders who are simply doing all they can to make ends meet, but I want to urge residents to stay alert when taking to social media for answers or advice. There is no guarantee that these answers have been vetted or that the individuals promising to help can actually do so. Do not under any circumstance pay a fee or offer up your personal information to someone on social media.‘

Nessel is urging residents currently facing challenges with unemployment benefits to be mindful of the following:

• If a post is offering to help you with any portion of the benefit process for a fee, do not fall for it. There is no guarantee that the person behind the post actually intends to assist you or can help you, and you may never receive the services you pay for. In addition, if a user offers to assist you and requests your personal information, do not fall for it. This is likely an attempt to steal your personal information to commit identity theft and obtain the benefits that you are rightfully entitled to.

• The information provided on social media has not been vetted and may not be accurate. While the answers may seem to provide quick fixes, you may ultimately be led down the wrong path. This could result in further delays in your receipt of benefits, the denial of benefits and in the case of fraud, administrative or criminal penalties.

To ensure you have accurate information and follow the proper channels, visit the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency’s (UIA) website. Claimants may also call the UIA Customer Service line at 1-866-500-0017 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and follow the prompts.

Nationwide unemployment claims last week were 78% below the peak during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest jobs report.

According to the online financial services firm WalletHub, the state of Michigan has had the sixth fastest workplace recovery rate when measured by the number of unemployment claims.

WalletHub reports that Michigan's unemployment claims climbed nearly 260% compared to the claims filed last year at this time. 

Connecticut, which has had the fastest recovery in the country, saw rates increase by 52% compared to last year, and the state with the slowest recovery is Oklahoma, which reported a 2,809% increase in unemployment claims over last year, according to WalletHub.