Local security experts fear NYS Dept. of Labor call back system is ripe for scammers

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York State Department of Labor has rolled out a “call back” feature, which allows representatives to call New Yorkers with incomplete unemployment claims so they can finish their applications over the phone.

They say if you were previously told to call the Department of Labor to complete the application over the phone, do not. Instead, they will call you.

The first call you get may be automated, explaining that a representative will be calling you within the next 72 hours. The second call will be from an actual representative; however, the Department of Labor said the majority of their staff is working from home so the incoming call from DOL will likely be from a private number.

“If a call comes up and you’re on that list and it’s private, answer it please, because that is the Department of Labor calling to finish your process,” said Melissa DeRosa, the Secretary for Governor Cuomo.

Adam Dean, a senior security specialist with GreyCastle Security told NEWS10 ABC this is ripe for scammers and is urging anyone expecting a call from DOL to be vigilant.

“This is a terrible idea on the Department of Labor’s part,” he said. “It’s pretty clear that when they put out this notice that they were not thinking about security too much. They were more so thinking how can we solve the issue at hand? That might have a negative impact on them in the long-term.”

The Department of Labor did announce that in order to prevent fraud, representatives will verify a few things in order to prove their legitimacy, including the date you filed your unemployment application and the type of claim you filed.

“So, if I were the Department of Labor, I would do both of those things as well as tell the person their social security number, not ask for it, but tell them what it is. The more information the DOL can give somebody the better the validation is,” said Dean.

A statement from DOL on Monday said: “Protecting claimants’ data and their personal information is our number one priority. Which is why we are reminding New Yorkers that anyone calling from the Department of Labor will verify their identity by providing the date you filed your Unemployment Insurance application and the type of claim you filed, which is information only our representatives would have access to.”

A spokeswoman for DOL said, for privacy purposes, the department cannot share the types of questions representatives are asking. She said making those public would put claimants at risk. In addition, they cannot provide examples of questions they would not ask as it depends upon what information the claimant has already provided.

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