COLUMBUS (WCMH) — This is the message Dee got at the beginning of this month: “Your Ohio unemployment insurance claim account is currently on hold for verification. Please complete your verification by following the instructions in the link below to reactivate your account.”

Bryan said he got a text at the end of May from a random number about his unemployment claim, also suggesting he click on a link. But Bryan hasn’t been on unemployment since February.

And Regina said the text she received stated her “unemployment benefit has been updated. Please log in” to this link “to view.” But Regina hasn’t filed for unemployment benefits.

So, where did the messages come from?

Better Call 4 asked the Ohio Department of Job and Family services, which said it’s seen an uptick in phony texts, emails, and websites designed by scammers that mirror the agency’s official website in an effort to trick you into giving up your personal information.

ODJFS said Dee, Bryan and Regina all responded to the messages the right way — by not responding at all.

If you get a similar message:

  • Ignore it.
  • Don’t click on any links.
  • If you have filed for unemployment at some point, log in to your account often, and review your home address, email address, and banking information, to make sure nothing’s changed without your approval.
  • Remember that the department will never ask you for your username or password.

If you do notice a change to your account, report it to the department immediately. ODJFS said it has implemented new tools to enhance fraud detection, and is intercepting more attempts, leading to a decrease in the number of fraudulent claims filed.