LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is warning people about a text message impersonating the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA).
The department was recently informed a text message is targeting claimants with a fraudulent announcement that UIA is making changes to security features. A similar scam has been targeting people through email, making both instances an opportunity to remind Michiganders that UIA is currently only communicating through the claimant’s Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM) or via mail.
This specific smishing attempt, which is when scammers send text messages pretending to be from trusted sources, 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 that 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.
Here are important reminders:
• 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 UIA.
• If you believe someone has stolen your identity to claim unemployment benefits, report your concern to UIA.
Additional information and tips to protect your identity can be found online.