The Better Business Bureau is alerting residents about a new text message scam in which scammers pose as the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
In the latest scam, a text claiming to be from the Department says a $3,800 payment is available for returning to work, as part of a program called “Back2Work.” The message then states that funds will be direct deposited once the user clicks on the provided link, according to a news release from the Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana.
Texts may come 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 result in possible identity theft.
Indiana’s Department of Workforce Development has said it won’t ask to verify employment via text, rather users will be asked to visit the state’s ID.me portal.
The BBB issued the following tips to help consumers avoid texting scams:
- Watch out for suspicious links. Most scam text messages contain a link for you to click on. Scammers hope their message will cause you to feel so scared or excited, you’ll click the link without thinking. Some of these links could download malware onto your device. Others may lead you to lookalike websites where scammers hope to harvest your personal information, login ID, and passwords.
- If you spot a scam text, don’t reply. Some scammers ask you to text “STOP” or “NO” so you won’t receive future texts. In reality, your reply tells them they have a real, active phone number and could open you up to future attacks. If a text message seems suspicious, don’t reply. Block the number and erase the message.
- Look for spelling and grammar errors. A large number of fake texts originate with offshore companies where they may be crafted by someone who isn’t completely fluent in the English language. Some scammers are highly skilled in English and it may even be their first language, so not every fake text you receive will follow this rule.
- If a website looks real, check again. If you do click on a link in a suspicious text message and it appears to take you to an official business website, don’t immediately let your guard down. Scammers can create a carbon copy of a legitimate website and if you login on the fake site they can steal your username and password. Check the URL carefully to make sure you are on the official website before you navigate within it.
- Keep your antivirus software up to date. Antivirus software can alert you to fake and unsafe websites if you happen to click on a link in an unsolicited text message. Keep the software installed and up to date to protect yourself against scammers.
Scams can be reported to the BBB’s Scam Tracker and the Federal Trade Commission.