Businesses: Phishing scheme targets unemployment benefits, PII

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Have you or one of your employees received an alarming text message about 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 the recipient to click a link to “make necessary corrections” to their unemployment insurance (UI) claim, “verify” their personal information, or “reactivate” their UI benefits account. The link takes you to a fake state workforce agency 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.

Unemployment insurance scam texts

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


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