The Better Business Bureau is alerting residents to a new text message scam in which scammers impersonate the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
In the latest scam, text purporting to be from the Department states that a payment of $3,800 is available for return to work, under a program called “Back2Work.” The message then states that the funds will be deposited directly once the user clicks on the provided link, according to a press release from the Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana.
Texts may be from an out-of-state area code, but contain a link making them appear to be from the state of Indiana.
The link may contain malware, which could obtain sensitive information on your phone and lead to possible identity theft.
The Indiana Department of Workforce Development said it would not ask to verify employment via text message, but users would be directed to visit the state’s ID.me portal.
The BBB has published the following advice to help consumers avoid SMS scams:
- Beware of suspicious links. Most scam text messages contain a link that you can click on. The scammers hope that their message will scare or excite you so much that you will click on the link without thinking. Some of these links might download malware to your device. Others may lead you to similar websites where crooks hope to harvest your personal information, login ID and passwords.
- If you spot a fraudulent text message, do not respond. Some scammers ask you to text “STOP” or “NO” so that you don’t receive any more text messages. In effect, your response tells them that they have a real active phone number and could expose you to future attacks. If a text message looks suspicious, don’t respond. Block the number and delete the message.
- Look for spelling and grammatical errors. A lot of fake texts come from offshore companies where they can be written by someone who doesn’t speak perfect English. Some scammers are very proficient in English and it may even be their native language, so not all fake texts you receive will follow this rule.
- If a website looks real, check again. If you click on a link in a suspicious text message and it appears to direct you to an official corporate website, don’t let your guard down immediately. Scammers can make a carbon copy of a legitimate website and if you log into the fake site, they can steal your username and password. Check the URL carefully to make sure you are on the official site before navigating there.
- Keep your anti-virus software up to date. Antivirus software can alert you to fake and dangerous websites if you click on a link in an unsolicited text message. Keep software installed and up-to-date to protect yourself from scammers.