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AG Nessel: Text scam targeting UIA claimants

phone scam
Posted at 9:41 AM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 09:41:34-04

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel warned residents on Wednesday of a text message impersonating the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA).

Her department was recently informed a text message is fraudulently claiming that the UIA is making changes to security features, according to a news release Wednesday.

A similar scam has been targeting people through email, and Nessel says the UIA is currently only communicating through claimants’ Michigan Web Account Manager or via email.

This specific smishing attempt asks the recipient to click on a link and log into their account – or risk losing their benefits.

The goal is to obtain the claimant’s personal information, which can then be used to steal their identity.

“At a time when so many people are struggling financially, bad actors are using scam texts and websites that mimic government unemployment insurance benefit websites,” Nessel said. “These sites trick people into thinking they’re applying for or certifying their UIA benefits; instead, they wind up giving scammers their personal information. I urge Michiganders to be vigilant to protect your personal information.”

Similar scams have been popping up in other states, leading the Department of Justice to release a warning last month about fake unemployment benefit websites.

Nessel’s office offers the following tips and reminders for keeping personal information safe:

  • UIA will not send a text message or email inviting you to apply for UIA benefits; 
  • If you have applied for UIA benefits and get a text or email about your application, contact your UIA directly using contact information included in your account; 
  • Never click links sent in a text or email claiming to be from the UIA; and 
  • If you believe someone has stolen your identity to claim unemployment benefits, report your concern to the UIA.