UIA Alerts Public to SMS Phishing Scam
The agency does not contact applicants via SMS for information or to process payments
If you’ve filed for unemployment benefits and receive a text message claiming to be from the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA), ignore it – it’s a scam. The UIA does not use text messaging to correspond with applicants.
Agency anti-fraud investigators learned of a recent phishing scheme to attempt to steal money and personal information from Michigan workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. The text message is from an out-of-state phone number and provides a link to claim refunds. Do not click on the link. Report it as junk or spam and delete the text.
“Bad actors are constantly using sophisticated methods to try to steal the money you deserve,” said UIA director Julia Dale. “The UIA will not tolerate criminals who try to steal money from hard-working Michiganders. Fighting fraud and providing exemplary customer service are our top priorities. If you suspect anyone of try to obtain your personal information or steal your benefits, let us know immediately.
The UIA communicates with applicants through their Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM) account, letters sent to the current registered address, or by telephone.
“Criminals use genuine government credentials to try to trick consumers into taking action that then allows them to steal from you,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “The first contact can take any form: letter, phone call, e-mail or SMS. Regardless of the form, the goal is the same: to obtain your personal information and steal your money. Do not fall into the trap !
The suspicious text message is from a phone number with an area code of 210, which is in Texas. The post reads in part: “MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY: Your $2,800 deposit is now pending on your profile.” It then asks the recipient to click on a strange link to receive payment. The link is to a fake UIA website.
This is an example of a government impostor scam, which Nessel highlights on the Ministry of the Attorney General’s consumer alerts page.
Here are 10 tips from the UIA to protect your personal information:
If you suspect fraud or identity theft, report it by clicking the Report Fraud and Identity Theft link on Michigan.gov/UIA and complete a referral form. Be sure to fill in all information and make sure it is up to date. The staff will respond to you as soon as possible. A UIA video explains how to report identity theft.
Stopping fraud is a key priority of Director Dale’s UIA transformation. In the eight months since her appointment as Principal, Principal Dale has:
The UIA’s What is User Interface Fraud web page at Michigan.gov/UIA explains the many ways the Agency combats fraud, including as a lead partner on the UI fraud response, leveraging tools and resources through the National Integrity Data Center to identify criminals and participating in the Department of Labor’s Tiger Teams initiative to identify anti-fraud best practices .