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Some unemployment applicants missing out on benefits by confusing VEC call with scam call

Virginia Employment Commission verifies that staff will call and ask for social security and PIN information, and a callback number is for a third party vendor.

NORFOLK, Va. — Thousands of Virginians are waiting on calls from Virginia Employment Commission staff members to review their case and get unemployment benefits. 

Some report receiving scam phone calls, asking for personal information like PIN and Social Security numbers. However, it turns out these calls are likely legitimate, and claimants could be missing out on unemployment benefits due to their caution.

Multiple unemployment applicants emailed 13News Now Investigative Reporter Evan Watson about what they perceived to be scam phone calls related to unemployment benefits. 

Some said the caller asked for the claimant's full social security number, which they felt uncomfortable providing over the phone, thinking it could be a scam.

After expressing their hesitations, the claimants said they were given a number -- 1-833-603-1519 -- to call back and provide the personal information.

At first glance through an online search, the number does not appear to be connected to the Virginia Employment Commission. It is not a main number listed for the VEC, and a Google search of the number even brings up a VEC webpage titled: "Reporting Unemployment Insurance Fraud."

However, if a claimant calls the number, an automated voice introduces the "VEC claims processing helpline."

A VEC spokesperson confirmed with 13News Now that the phone number is a verified number for a third party vendor, and it is associated with unemployment claims reviews.

The spokesperson said the caller should only ask for the last four digits of a claimant's social security number as verification, despite people reporting they were asked for the full social security number.

So, in this case, what seems like a scam call is likely a real call, and unemployment case reviews are not resolved until the applicant calls back.

VEC is currently warning people about an email scam, related to a fake Department of Labor email address.

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