An email that appears to be from the Washington State Department of Licensing asking people to update their personal information is actually a sophisticated scam.
Vancouver resident Tom Knappenberger caught onto the fake email before he handed over any of his identifying information, including his Social Security number.
“One thing I’m trained of in life is don’t give out your Social Security number, especially online,” he said.
But he said he worries that others who aren’t as versed in email scams, especially elderly people, might get sucked into what he considers to be a pretty convincing scam.
He said he recently renewed the tags for his trailer through the DOL, so he initially thought the email meant he had made a mistake when he filled out the forms. Before following the email’s prompts, he searched online for DOL scams and was reminded to check the email address the message came from — it didn’t have the DOL’s address ending in wa.gov.
The DOL is aware of similar email phishing scams, according to its website.
The agency warns people that it will never call, text or email asking for personal information. It will also never ask for personal information outside of a secure account or without verifying a phone number, according to the DOL’s website.
Knappenberger recommends people look at seemingly official emails with a skeptical eye, and if it looks suspicious, check with the agency.
The DOL warns people to be suspicious of messages that mention irregularities with their driver’s license or tell people to update their personal information.
Those who receive fraudulent messages should ignore them, delete them or report them to the Federal Trade Commission, according to the DOL. People can report emails asking for personal information to firstname.lastname@example.org, and texts can be sent to SPAM (7726).