Criminals are using texts to target unemployment compensation benefit recipients
Harrisburg, PA - Treasurer Stacy Garrity today warned Pennsylvanians that scammers are using fraudulent text messages to target recipients of unemployment compensation benefits – potentially including normal unemployment compensation (UC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC).
One message tells recipients – inaccurately – that their “state-issued ReliaCard account has been temporarily frozen.” It encourages recipients to click on a link “to verify [their] identity and card status.”
“If you get a text message like this, do not click on the link. This is a scam and nothing but a scam. Criminals have been aggressively targeting unemployment compensation benefits throughout the pandemic, and this is their latest attempt to steal money from honest Pennsylvanians.”
Pennsylvania State Treasurer, Stacy Garrity
Treasurer Garrity noted that neither the Pennsylvania Treasury nor the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) ever embed a link in a text message. Any text that includes a link and claims to be from Treasury or L&I is not authentic and should not be trusted.
More generally, it’s important to never provide any personally identifiable information, user IDs, or passwords unless you initiated the conversation by contacting the agency directly.
ReliaCards, issued by US Bank, are prepaid debit cards and are one method used to distribute UC benefits in Pennsylvania.
Treasury’s website includes a page answering commonly asked questions about UC benefits. The Department of Labor & Industry, which administers UC programs in Pennsylvania, has an entire website dedicated to UC issues, including a page focused on UC fraud.
Sample Scam Text Message: