We've all faced unexpected challenges since the start of the pandemic. I've heard some people say it hasn't affected them at all - but when you break it down - almost everything has been altered in our daily lives. We haven't been able to simply go to our favorite restaurants or bars the way we did before, events with crowds of people still haven't returned, the schoolyear for our kids continues to be a work in progress with many still attending from home, and masks are still required if you want to enter businesses.

The daily changes we've faced are enough for most.........but a lot of people have also had to face the additional reality of losing their job as the pandemic has taken it's effect on the economy. I don't know why it stood out to me today - but everywhere I looked I felt like I was seeing stories about unemployment.

A new report shows Montana has had 125,000 people file for unemployment benefits since the start of the pandemic. But in a bit of good news, Montana saw the unemployment rate drop a bit from November to December, and as a whole we're below the national unemployment rate. And we're also doing better than a lot of places when you take all the numbers into account, Montana has the 8th best unemployment rate recovery in the country.

But if you want to really get down to the ugliness of it all - it's pretty sad that scammers would use unemployment benefits as a way to prey on people - but that's exactly what's happening across the country and right here in Montana. The Montana Department of Labor and Industry has issued a warning for Montanans to be aware of a text scam that claims to be from the Unemployment Insurance Division. These pukes known as scammers are sending text messages designed to trick unemployment recipients into clicking links that can install malware onto their phones. You should always be careful what you respond to when it's from an unsolicited source! Most people know that - but there'll always be those that get caught thinking the phishing scam is a legit link to click.

If you've received unemployment benefits and you're questioning the validity of a text message - the Montana Department of Labor and Industry says any text messages they would send will have website links that end in "mt.gov."

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