Fraudulent websites being set up in an attempt to scam Pennsylvanians
Harrisburg, PA - Treasurer Stacy Garrity is warning Pennsylvanians that fraudsters are actively working to steal personal information by creating fake websites that mimic official government unemployment benefit websites.
“Any time a website asks you to submit personal information, think twice. Make sure it’s a website you trust – not a fake version. And be extremely cautious about clicking on links in emails and text messages, which could lead to dangerous sites where criminals are waiting for you.”
Pennsylvania State Treasurer, Stacy Garrity
According to an alert issued yesterday by the U.S. Department of Justice, these fake websites are being set up “to trick consumers into thinking they are applying for unemployment benefits and disclosing personally identifiable information and other sensitive data. That information can then be used by fraudsters to commit identity theft.”
This technique – embedding links in unsolicited emails and texts to obtain personally identifiable information – is known as phishing. According to the FBI, people lost more than $57 million to phishing and related scams in 2019. The Federal Trade Commission offers advice on how to recognize and avoid phishing schemes.
The Department of Justice recommends that consumers never click on links in emails or text messages offering the opportunity to apply for unemployment benefits. Instead, go directly to the appropriate website to do so.
If you receive suspicious emails or text messages regarding unemployment compensation benefits, the Department of Justice asks that you file a report with the National Center for Disaster Fraud online at www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud or by calling 866-720-5721.