FTC Warns of Unemployment Insurance Phishing Scheme

Unemployment Insurance PhishingThe US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a warning about scams targeting unemployed people via text messages.

“Identity thieves are targeting millions of people nationwide with scam phishing texts aimed at stealing personal information, unemployment benefits, or both,” the FTC says. “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.”

One of the phishing templates purports to come from either the Wisconsin or Minnesota unemployment insurance agencies. The text includes a deadline to ensure recipients act quickly.

“We are making some exciting changes to improve your UI & PUA Benefit security features,” the text reads. “You are required to verify your UI & PEUC Benefit Profile information with us to activate these features. Your Benefit Profile will be deactivated 48 hours if no response was received. Visit [Link] to verify now.”

Another text states, “The department of labor has noticed some discrepancies in your unemployment claim profile.” The text includes a link for the recipient to make corrections to their profile, which will presumably steal their information.

The FTC stresses that state governments will not send you text messages that ask for sensitive information.

“Know that state agencies do not send text messages asking for personal information,” the FTC says. “If you get an unsolicited text or email message that looks like it’s from an SWA, don’t reply or click any link.”

New-school security awareness training can enable your employees to avoid falling for social engineering scams in their professional and personal lives.

The FTC has the full story

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Topics: Phishing

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