CHICAGO - Illinoisans are asked to be on the alert for a pair of scams seeking to defraud residents of money and personal information.
Secretary of State Jesse White issued the warning on Friday, offering details about each of the scams.
The first scam involves unsolicited text messages claiming to be from the secretary of state's office, which contain vague references to "problems with your information." The text also contains a link attributed to "uipendingcases.org."
White says visting the website could place malware on your device or trick residents into disclosing personal information.
"Delete the text," said White. "Do not click on it and do not provide any of your personal information."
The secretary of state’s office never requests personal information, like a Social Security number, through a text message, White says.
The second scam involves fraudulent websites that offer online vehicle registration renewals for license plate stickers. The scam site then charges residents an additional fee for the registration.
One of the websites, IllinoisCarReg.com, misleads customers into providing personal information, then charges $39.99 in addition to the price of the sticker, White says.
The company that operates the website is also misleading customers in multiple states across the nation and is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.
"Before you conduct your business with the Secretary of State’s office online, double-check you are on our official government website, www.cyberdriveillinois.com," said White.
White encourages people to take steps to protect their personal information:
- Delete emails and texts that promise or offer access to driver’s licenses or state ID cards, and do not click on any links contained in such emails or text messages, as they may place malware on your devices.
- Hang up on any calls, including robocalls, which direct you to take immediate action or provide personally-identifiable information, such as your Social Security number or bank account number.
- Ask to use other types of identifiers besides your Social Security number.
- Keep your software up-to-date, including your phone and computer operating systems and antivirus protection programs. Most phones, computers and antivirus software can be set to update automatically when new software versions are released.
Residents who think they have been defrauded by this scheme are encouraged to contact their credit card company to dispute the extra fee charge.
"My office will continue working closely with the Illinois Attorney General’s office, and the appropriate federal entities, to protect Illinoisans from falling victim to these fraudulent schemes," said White.
If you have questions about text message scams or identity theft, call the Illinois Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Hotline at 800-386-5438 (Chicago), 800-243-0618 (Springfield) or 800-243-0607 (Carbondale).