INDIANAPOLIS — If you got a text claiming that you have unclaimed money from the state, it is probably a scam.
Detectives from the Indiana State Police Indianapolis District are warning people about a scam they have gotten complaints about recently. The scam comes in the form of a text message claiming to be from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
The scammer tries to get people to click on a link, leading them to a website asking for personal or confidential information. This could provide scammers with access to personal accounts, or they could sell personal information on the dark web.
The Indiana Department of Workforce Development says they will never send a text or email message asking people to click on a link to get benefits or any type of payment.
This is a form of “smishing”, a mashup of short message service (SMS) and phishing. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said these types of scams are becoming more commonplace.
People who fall prey to these types of scams may find their personal information being manipulated, which scammers can sell or use in other scams. They may also entice you to download malware to their device.
BBB advocates say just like with any other scam, there are warning signs you can look for. Check to make sure everything is spelled correctly, especially the name of the website or company that’s supposed to be offering the prize. If you end up clicking the link in the text, look at the design of the website. Most official sites look like they were made by professionals.
The best plan of action is just to ignore the message in the first place.
“Some scammers will ask you to text either stop or no to stop receiving future texts. Don’t reply at all,” said Felblinger. “Once you do, this tells the scammer that your phone is actually active, and you may find yourself victim in future scams.”
The FCC said there are some things you can do to avoid becoming a victim of a smishing attempt:
- Never click links, reply to text messages or call numbers you don’t recognize.
- Do not respond, even if the message requests that you “text STOP” to end messages.
- Delete all suspicious texts.
- Make sure your smart device OS and security apps are updated to the latest version.
- Consider installing anti-malware software on your device for added security.
The bottom line is to stop before you engage and avoid the urge to respond. If you think the text is phony, block it and delete the message before reporting the number to the BBB.
If you think you fell victim to smishing, you should contact law enforcement to report the scam. You can also file a complaint with the FCC at no cost.