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Have you gotten an alarming text message about your unemployment insurance benefits from what seems to be your state workforce agency? You’re not alone. Identity thieves are targeting millions of people nationwide with scam phishing texts aimed at stealing personal information, unemployment benefits, or both.

The phishing texts try to dupe you to click a link to “make necessary corrections” to your unemployment insurance (UI) claim, “verify” your personal information, or “reactivate” your UI benefits account. The link takes you to a fake state workforce agency (SWA) website that may look very real. There, you’re asked to input your website credentials and personal information, like your Social Security number. Fraudsters can use the information to file fraudulent UI benefits claims or for other identity theft.

Here are examples of some of the phishing texts. (Click image to enlarge.)

Image of various phishing text messages associated with this scam.

Protect yourself. Know that state agencies do not send text messages asking for personal information. If you get an unsolicited text or email message that looks like it’s from an SWA, don’t reply or click any link. If you’re not sure, contact the SWA directly using the State Directory for Reporting Unemployment Identity Theft at the bottom of this United States Department of Labor webpage.

If you think you may have entered your personal information into a fraudulent website, visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out how to make it harder for an identity thief to misuse your information.

You can report a suspicious text message or email claiming to be from an SWA to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) by completing an NCDF Complaint Form or by calling (866) 720-5721. Tell us too at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. And, tell a friend. By sharing your experience and knowledge about the fraud, you can help someone else avoid the trap.

4 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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GregoryWem
September 07, 2021
Yes, quite
CyberAware
August 04, 2021
Please note that this is happening via email phishing attempts as well. Received one recently requiring that information be provided within 48 hours or lose current or potential benefits.
Don't use your…
August 04, 2021
Thank you so much for this advices and the help steps but this text messages keep coming to me I change my SIM card & my phone number & it’s even worth at my new number, emails& address mail too
AJM
August 04, 2021
It is sad. This targets people who are probably already under a lot of stress.