Labor Seal NYS Department of Labor                          

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Unemployment Scam Alert!
New York State Department of Labor Sends out a Warning

Albany, NY (April 15, 2009) - New York State Department of Labor Commissioner M. Patricia Smith today announced that the Labor Department has been made aware of an ongoing scam targeting the unemployed at a time when they can least afford it. These unscrupulous scammers have been charging victims, including many in New York City’s Polish community, fees to file claims to collect Unemployment Insurance benefits.

The Labor Department does not charge individuals to sign up for benefits either on-line or over the phone, and is urging New Yorkers, particularly those in ethnic communities, to be aware of this growing scam.

“The message here is clear: there is no cost to sign up for Unemployment Insurance benefits. If you are told differently, then it's a scam," said Governor David A. Paterson. "I applaud Labor Commissioner Patricia Smith for her efforts to ensure the fraud and abuse that can be targeted at those New Yorkers who we are trying to help get assistance is eliminated. It is unconscionable that people would take advantage of those who have lost a job and are in their most critical time of need.”

Commissioner Smith said, "I’d like to remind New York’s immigrants that the Labor Department’s Bureau of Immigrant Workers’ Rights can help you, regardless of your immigration status. If you have been victimized by these scammers I urge you to call the Bureau immediately."

The Bureau of Immigrant Workers’ Rights reaches out to immigrants, often in their own neighborhoods. It distributes important Labor Department materials in eleven languages, most recently Polish and Korean. The Bureau informs Immigrants of their rights and services provided by the department.

The fastest way to apply for unemployment insurance benefits is to file an application through the Labor Department website at For those who do not have internet access, please call 1-888-209-8124.

In 2006, immigrants accounted for 2.47 million, or 26% of the workforce in New York State. In New York City, immigrants accounted for 1.76 million or 47% of the workforce.

To contact the Bureau of Immigrant Workers’ Rights call 1-877-IMM-WRKR (1-877-466-9757).