SEPT. 11, 2017 • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Phishing scam targets Washington state employees
Union urges members to report any suspicious correspondence
OLYMPIA – Washington state’s largest public employee union has confirmed incidents of malicious actors targeting public service workers with scam phishing emails believed to be used to gather personal information.
The 43,000-member Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME Council 28 and its national union, AFSCME, have launched an investigation. The phony emails into this state were dated Sept. 11, 2017.
“These emails and calls impersonate AFSCME accounts and AFSCME President Lee Saunders in an effort to trick public service workers into sharing their personal information,” said WFSE/AFSCME Spokesman Tim Welch.
The scam emails warn of a non-existent “furlough” and urge recipients to fill out an attachment, which the phishers could use to capture private information.
In Washington, the ruse became apparent because the legal language used in the scam emails cited contract articles and personnel rules from New Mexico.
The union warns all employees in state agencies, state colleges and state universities not to open an email with the subject line “Help Delay September13 Furloughs!”
Any email from the domain name “afscme.us.com” is a scam phishing email, Welch said.
He urged anyone who receives an email from “afscme.us.com” or any other suspicious senders to take the following steps:
1. Delete the email.
2. Do not reply to the sender, download any attachments, or click any links – including the link to “stop receiving these emails.”
3. Alert their employer’s IT department.
AFSCME is actively working to identify the source of these phishing attempts and urges all public service workers to report any suspicious activity.
Similar scam emails have also hit at least one other state, Illinois, where public employees also reported receiving scam robocalls, AFSCME reported.
WFSE/AFSCME members with questions are urged to call any union field office or the statewide toll-free number, 1-800-562-6002.
Updates will appear: on the union’s website at wfse.org; Facebook page at facebook.com/wfsec28; and recorded Hotline message center at 1-800-562-6102.
The Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME represents about 43,000 state agency, higher education and public service workers across Washington. These workers make Washington work, such as: law enforcement on state college and university campuses, in state Parks, Community Corrections and the Liquor/Cannabis Board; direct care for veterans, disabled, mentally ill and at-risk children and adults; keeping our roads safe and maintaining our highway infrastructure; safeguarding health and safety in the workplace and public utilities like drinking water; keeping state colleges and universities safe, clean and healthy; and protecting our natural resources.