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UIA alerts public of text message phishing scam
July 11, 2022
Agency does not contact claimants by text for information or to process payments
If you have 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. UIA does not use text messaging to correspond with claimants.
The Agency’s anti-fraud investigators have learned of a recent phishing scheme to try to steal money and personal information from Michigan workers who have lost jobs through no fault of their own. 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.
“Bad actors are constantly using sophisticated methods to try to steal the money you deserve,” said UIA Director Julia Dale. “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 trying to get your personal information or steal your benefits, let us know right away.”
UIA communicates with claimants through their Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM) 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.
This is an example of a government imposter scam, which Nessel highlights on the Department of 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 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. Staff will respond to you in a timely manner. A UIA video explains how to report identity theft.
Stopping fraud is a key priority of Director Dale’s transformation of the UIA. In the eight months since her appointment as director, Director Dale has:
UIA’s What is UI Fraud webpage at Michigan.gov/UIA explains the many ways the Agency fights fraud, including as a leading partner in the Unemployment Insurance Fraud Response Team, leveraging tools and resources through the national Integrity Data Hub to identify criminals and participating in the Department of Labor’s Tiger Teams initiative to identify best anti-fraud practices.