The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a warning to consumers about a text message scam that’s designed to steal unemployment benefits.
According to the agency, the scheme targets anyone claiming unemployment insurance benefits and aims to steal their money and personal information.
It works by sending potential victims a link to “make necessary corrections” to their unemployment insurance, verify their personal information, or reactivate their benefits account.
However, the link redirects the victim to a fake website that asks for personal data, like the person’s name, address, and social security number.
Then, scammers are able to use this information to file fraudulent unemployment benefits claims and even steal their identities.
Targets are identified using various online platforms, like LinkedIn and social media posts, as many people share their current job status online.
During the pandemic, there’s been an increase in different types of scams, including fake vaccination survey scams, fake websites, stimulus payment scams, and domain spoofing.
According to the CEO of email security firm Tessian, people need to be aware of these types of scams so they can protect their personal information and stop it from being used in this way.
He said in a recent interview, “It’s also important to be skeptical of emails asking you to click links and disclose personal information. The rule of thumb? Don’t click on anything unless it’s from a legitimate source – you can look for the .gov URL – and check that the sender’s email domain matches the sender’s name.”
If you think you’ve been targeted by this scam or receive a suspicious text or email, you can contact the FTC or National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) if you’re in the US, or the relevant authority in your country of residence.
By sharing your experience or suspicions about this kind of fraud, you can potentially help someone else avoid falling into the trap.