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Scam Alert: text message is targeting Montanans

DLI warns about unemployment text scam
Posted at 7:29 PM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 21:44:09-05

HELENA — The Montana Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) is warning Montanans about a text scam fraudulently claiming to be with Unemployment Insurance (UI).

DLI believes these scammers are sending fraudulent text messages to phone numbers with a 406 area code in the hopes that one is a current unemployment claimant. The text messages attempt to persuade the recipients to click on a link. People should NOT click the link as it may install malware on their devices.

DLI says when they do send links via text they will always end in a “mt.gov” web address. The agency says the only people who will receive a legitimate text messages from the UI department are Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claimants who have chosen to receive text updates on the status of their claim. Those text messages will direct PUA claimants to their accounts at mtpua.mt.gov.

The agency does NOT use text messages to regular UI or PEUC claimants.

Here’s what to do if receive a suspicious text:

  • Don’t click the link. Don’t call the number.
  • Don’t respond.
  • Block the number on your phone.
  • Delete the text so you accidentally don’t open the link later.

People who believe they may be a victim of unemployment fraud should immediately report it online or call the UI fraud hotline at 406-444-0072.

DLI says unemployment programs nationwide have seen an uptick in attempts by criminals to defraud programs and secure benefits, and is continuously working to combat these illegal schemes.

State warns about text scam targeting unemployment recipients