A new text message scam has come to light in Indiana, where scammers pose as the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. What's the Indiana UpLink scam about?
Usually, texting scams work through message sent by scammers posing as another person or business. They may ask for information or send a link directing the recipient to somewhere they need to provide their personal information. Scams and phishing attacks are on the rise, and people aren't sure who to trust.
What the Indiana unemployment scam is about
Indiana was hit by widespread fraud last year when a scam targeted the state’s unemployment assistance program. Text messages, supposedly originating from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD), asked recipients to click on a link to verify their identity and continue their unemployment payments.
The DWD said it would never contact people via text message. The agency also advised individuals who receive the text message to report it to the agency, and the FBI issued a separate warning. The scam siphoned off more than $120,000 in unemployment benefits.
How the Indiana UpLink scam works
UpLink is Indiana's employment service portal. Scammers, again posing as from DWD, are sending text messages that say that a deposit of $3,800 is available through the portal. The sender may appear to be outside of or from Indiana.
Obviously, the deposit doesn't exist. According to the BBB (Better Business Bureau), if you click on the link, malware gets installed on your phone, where you may have sensitive information that an identity thief wants.
Tips to avoid texting scams
The BBB has issued several tips to help consumers avoid texting scams.
Be aware of suspicious links
Most text message scams try to make you click on a link. These links could download malware or lead you to a lookalike website. Ultimately, the aim is to get access to your personal information, such as loginIDs and passwords.
This is one of the most basic of things recipients should be aware of. Whatever the text asks you to tap a link or send a “STOP” or “NO” text, don’t. Just block the number and erase the message.
Look for spelling and grammatical errors
According to the BBB, a lot of fake texts originate from offshore companies, crafted by someone who isn’t completely fluent in English. Therefore, you may notice a few errors. Some of them can be very subtle, like odd usage of uppercase words or missing spaces.
If a website looks real, check again
If you click on the link provided in the text and it takes you to a legitimate-looking website, check again—scammers can create an almost exact replica of websites. Check the URL.
Keep your antivirus software up to date
Antivirus software can block fake and risky connections. Make sure to keep it up to date.