Agency warns of new text message scam

Scam artists are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their techniques — as evidenced by a warning this week from the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency about a phishing scheme that begins with a text message.

If you have filed for unemployment benefits and receive a text message claiming to be from the UIA, ignore it — it’s a scam. The agency does not use text messaging to correspond with claimants.

The text message comes from an out-of-state phone number and provides a link to claim back payments. Do not click on the link. Report it as junk or spam and delete the text.

The real intent of this government imposter scam is to steal personal information and money.

UIA communicates with claimants through their Michigan Web Account Manager account, letters mailed to the current address on file or by phone.

“Criminals use real government references to try and trick consumers into taking action that then makes it possible for them to steal from you,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. “The initial contact could come in any form — letter, phone call, email, or text message. No matter the form, the goal is the same: to get your personal information and steal your money. Don’t fall for it!”

The suspicious text message is from a phone number with a 210 Area Code, which is in Texas. The message reads in part: “MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY: Your back payment deposit of $2,800 is now pending on your profile.” It then instructs the recipient to click on a strange link to receive payment. The link is to a fake, replica UIA website.

Here are 10 tips from the UIA to protect your personal information:

— Scrutinize the webpage URL or link that you receive. If it is not an official Michigan.gov website, do not use it.

— If you do not trust a website or information, call UIA’s Customer Service at 1-866-500-0017 to verify what you are seeing.

— You should only link to UIA information or services through gov/UIA.

— UIA will never ask a claimant to provide logins, passwords or banking information.

— UIA will never ask a claimant to send information to personal emails.

— UIA will never ask a claimant to text information back.

— Keep your MiLOGIN and MiWAM information secure, do not provide it to anyone.

— If someone calls and you are suspicious about the intent, hang up and call UIA at 1-866-500-0017 and request staff to send information to you through your MiWAM account.

— If a caller provides information that sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Hang up.

— Make sure your contact information is current should UIA staff need to reach you.

If you suspect fraud or identity theft, report it by clicking on the Report Fraud and Identity Theft link at Michigan.gov/UIA and fill out a referral form. Be sure to fill out all the information and make sure it is current.

–Iron Mountain Daily News


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