Phishing texts, emails made to look like Illinois Secretary of State, IDES

ByJason Knowles and Ann Pistone WLS logo
Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Phishing scammers target IL Secretary of State, IDES
Phishing texts that look like they are coming from state agencies could easily fool you into giving up personal information to scammers.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Phishing texts that look like they are coming from state agencies could fool you into giving up personal information.

The I-Team has heard from several viewers who are getting these texts. Many look real. Some may even make you think your driver's license will be revoked if you don't click.

RELATED: Illinois unemployment scams surge as enhanced benefits near end, IDES says

Most of the texts are posing as the Illinois Secretary of State's office or the "DMV," saying you could lose your license if you don't provide information, like a social security number.

"I received something purporting to be from the Secretary of State's office, it had a 773 area code. And it was a text. So, and it said, before I opened it up, I could see it was saying that they needed some information from me," said Arlington Heights resident Gilda Karu.

Karu got a phishing text asking her to click on a link to enter that so called "missing" information. She did click since she was waiting on an update about her car registration.

"And when I looked at it, it was a really good spoof of what is on the Secretary of State's website, but it was asking for too much information. It was like a blueprint for an identity theft. It wanted name, birthdate, driver's license number, I'm thinking to myself, the Secretary of State has this information," she said.

She's right. The Secretary of State's office will never send you a text or email asking for that information.

"Yes, the fraudsters are using our logos to make their information look really real. And so Secretary White is urging people, please do not provide your personal information. We do not go out there and ask for your personal information, so do not respond," said Beth Kaufman, Deputy Press Secretary for Secretary of State, Jesse White. "We have gotten numerous complaints from people who've gotten these fraudulent texts. And so, our IT department has gone to research the information of where these texts are going, and luckily they have been successful in shutting down a number of these fraudulent websites. So that's good news, but the fraudsters don't seem to be giving up."

Kaufman said as soon as fake websites get shut down new ones may pop up, but people should still report the texts to White's office.

"Two people told me that they got Secretary of State and again, husband and wife and they got them on different days," said Karu.

There's also a sharp rise in phishing links sent via text and email leading to websites posing as the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The I-Team found one asking for user name and password. The IDES logos are there but if you look closely at the web address it's not IDES or even a .gov address. It's a .com domain.

"I think just it's important to share with people you know, share with your friends, if you're at church if you're at a community group, whatever else let people know that hey, I got this and it's phishing probably and just share the information because I think the more that we can get the message out I think we can cut some of this off," said Karu.

Never click on suspicious links. They can also install malware on your device. If you have doubts and you think a request is real, reach out to that state agency or company on your own, through its legitimate phone number or website.