D.O.J. Warns of Fradulent Unemployment Benefit Websites, Text Messages

By Benjamin Cox on March 6, 2021 at 12:13pm

The U.S. Department of Justice is asking people to be on the look out for fraudsters creating websites that mimic unemployment benefit websites from state agencies.

The Department of Justice has received reports that fraudsters are creating websites mimicking unemployment benefit websites, including state workforce agency websites like the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s website. The D.O.J. says the fraudsters are doing this to unlawfully capture people’s personal information like dates of birth, social security numbers, addresses, and more.

To lure consumers to these fake websites, fraudsters send spam text messages and emails purporting to be from the state workforce agencies containing a link. The fake websites are designed to trick consumers into thinking they are applying for unemployment benefits and disclosing personally identifiable information and other sensitive data. That information can then be used by fraudsters to commit identity theft.

The D.O.J. says to never click on the links embedded in text messages or in emails claiming to be from a state workforce agency offering the opportunity to apply for unemployment benefits. The D.O.J. says to instead go to the actual state workforce agency website and initiate the contact yourself. A list of verified state workforce agency websites can be found at www.careeronestop.org.

If you receive a text message or email claiming to be from a state workforce agency and containing a link or other contact information, please report the communication to the National Center for Disaster Fraud by calling 866-720-5721 or using the NCDF Web Complaint Form found at: www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud.

If you believe you may have entered information into a fraudulent website, resources on how to protect your information can be found at www. identitytheft.gov.