ALBUQUERQUE — The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS) warns New Mexicans to be on alert for scam text messages and to protect their personal information from potential scammers.
As Federal Unemployment Insurance benefits come to a close this Saturday, Sept. 4, scam SMS text messages are on the rise. Scammers are sending SMS text messages in an effort to steal claimants’ passwords, account numbers, and/or Social Security Numbers. With this information they can gain access to email, bank, or other accounts.
Scammers are using familiar icons, folder names, programs, and even impersonating NMDWS to trick claimants and members of the general public into providing their personal identifiable information (PII). Do not be a victim, avoid unemployment scams by deleting the message and do not engage, DO NOT click on any links.
NMDWS is asking all claimants to take necessary steps to protect their personal information. This includes changing your password to My Workforce Connection (https://www.jobs.state.nm.us) to something no one else will know and something that you have not used in the past on other sites. Also ensure that if you have elected to receive electronic correspondence that your email address is accurate in the Unemployment Insurance Tax & Claims System.
Check your benefit payment method to ensure it is the payment method you have chosen. If you chose direct deposit to your bank account, ensure that the correct bank account is listed. If it is not, fix it right away. It is recommended that you check your payment method each week prior to completing your weekly certification.
Unemployment Insurance fraud scams are not unique to New Mexico. Scams are happening across the U.S. – people have been victimized by criminal actors impersonating the victims and using the victims’ stolen identities to submit fraudulent Unemployment Insurance claims online. The criminals obtain the stolen identity using a variety of techniques, including the online purchase of stolen PII, computer intrusions, email phishing scams, physical theft of data from individuals or third parties, and from public websites and social media accounts, among other methods. Criminal actors will use third parties or persuade individuals who are victims of other scams or frauds to transfer funds to accounts controlled by criminals.
NMDWS does not send text messages other than those selected by individuals who indicate text as their notification preference.
Some key tips to help determine whether a text message is a scam:
- Text messages asking people to reactivate a card by clicking on a link are scams. NMDWS and EPPIcard will never text message people to reactivate a debit card.
- Protect your Personal Identifiable Information (PII) and never give out your login information including your password to anyone. NMDWS will never ask for any PII over text.
- Review URLs before clicking on them. The official URL for the NMDWS website is https://www.dws.state.nm.us.
- Secure websites will always have the “https” that prevents communication from being intercepted and read by anyone but you and the website you are connected to.
- Log in to your UI claimant home page for important messages regarding your claim or contact a Customer Service Representative at 1.877.664.6984 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
The U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have also warned consumers about this type of scam. Information about how to avoid text message scams is available through the FTC, FBI, and on the NMDWS website at https://www.dws.state.nm.us/
For individuals who feel they have been a victim of identity theft due to Unemployment Insurance fraud, NMDWS asks that they report it immediately by submitting a Fraud Affidavit Form and following the steps outlined at https://www.dws.state.nm.