True North Networks Blog
Preying on the Unemployed
An SMS phishing campaign has been exploiting the COVID-19 crisis by spoofing the website of a job placement agency, the New York Daily News reports. The scammers set up a website that convincingly spoofed a legitimate site belonging to ABS Staffing Solutions, then sent out texts with a link to the site. The website asked victims to enter sensitive personal information, which would be sent to the scammers. The fraudsters would also contact the victims to draw them into more targeted scams.
ABS Staffing Solutions’s CEO Ariel Schur told the Daily News that she learned of the scam when people started messaging her asking if the jobs were legit.
“Whoever the scammer is would send a text message from a 1-800 number, and there was no number to text back. It would just relay that we have an immediate opportunity,” she said. “The text message would have the dummy link, and I’m sure multiple people just clicked on it and adhered to whatever information was requested.”
The site’s hosting provider has taken the site down, but the scammers are apparently still active. Schur said she’s still getting questions from job seekers about suspicious text messages offering non-existent jobs.
Schur added that at least one person—a woman in Florida—fell for the scam, and handed over her Social Security number, date of birth, and address. After this, the scammers contacted the victim and told her she’d been hired as an executive assistant at a real property management firm in New Jersey. They then tricked her into transferring her own money to a phony client. The victim didn’t realize she’d been scammed until she received her first paycheck (sent by the scammers), and the check bounced.
People should be suspicious about any unsolicited communication, particularly if it asks them to do something like visit a website or open an attachment. They should dismiss such messages as scams if they’re offering something that seems too good to be true. New-school security awareness training can teach your employees to avoid falling for these types of social engineering tactics.