New Phishing Scam Involving Emails, Texts Targets People Who Are Out Of Work

A new scam has surfaced targeting people who are out of work. CBS 2's Tara Molina has investigated these issues for more than a year now, and on Thursday, she talked to an expert who has a warning about a growing number of fake emails and texts.

Video Transcript

BRAD EDWARDS: Thanks for joining us. I'm Brad Edwards.

IRIKA SARGENT: And I'm Irika Sargent. Today, a new scam targeting people who are here out of work.

BRAD EDWARDS: Mm-hmm. Our Tara Molina is working for Chicago and has investigated these issues for more than a year now. And she's talking to an expert who has a warning about a growing number of fake emails and texts. Tara.

TARA MOLINA: Brad and Irika, we've investigated phishing scams before. But with these new elaborate texts and emails now targeting a specific group of people, we're told the state continues to be pummeled by a large number of fake claims.

OFER ECKSTEIN: They found a way to come back.

TARA MOLINA: Ofer Eckstein is talking about scammers and these, the most recent phishing schemes he says are targeting those who are unemployed now or were unemployed at some point during the pandemic-- emails and a text contributing to the continued fraud problem.

OFER ECKSTEIN: You know, we're getting fraudulent claims again at levels that are not normal. I think right now, it's all due to phishing.

TARA MOLINA: A partner at Personnel Planners, a third party vendor that helps clients process unemployment claims, Ofer has a firm grip on the fraud issue here in Illinois. Just last week--

OFER ECKSTEIN: Over 20% of our claims being fraudulent.

TARA MOLINA: Over 20%. This specific email stands out to him.

OFER ECKSTEIN: It was so good that I bet you a lot of people fell for it.

TARA MOLINA: We know the problem is bigger than these. We've tracked it for months with another scam email just sent to our station's tip line, others coming in from people who've fallen for them.

- I don't know what to do in this point.

TARA MOLINA: So what is the state doing about it? We asked. A spokesperson for IDES confirmed what we sent their way were scams, calling them confirmation that bad actors are still working to defraud unemployment insurance systems nationwide, warning never to click on links sent in emails or texts. That state spokesperson didn't say exactly what they're doing to combat this kind of fraud but did say they're warning legitimate claimants about these scams. For CBS 2 working for Chicago, I'm Tara Molina.