It seems like Ruth to the Rescue is always getting complaints about email scammers. That's one reason we keep reminding you of all the different ways they're out to trick you into sharing personal information. Now, Michigan's Office of Finance and Insurance Regulation is telling consumers to be on guard against some of the typical scams making the rounds.
Scammers play on your fear, trying to convince you need to take action, click on a bogus link, or share private information.
This alert concerns the following three scenarios you could see online or even on your phone:
- Scammers claiming to be banks or credit unions, have phished for victims by using consumer email addresses that contain identifying employment and educational information. Through emails, scammers have sought personal financial information by notifying consumers that there are issues with their accounts.
- Posing as a legitimate financial institution, fraudsters have targeted consumers using cell phone area codes to send text messages notifying them that that there is problem with their account. Consumers are instructed to call toll-free numbers where they are asked to provide personal information. This tactic may also be called “smishing.”
- Scam artists are using many different types of fraudulent emails claiming to be from the FDIC, the Federal Reserve and other federal financial agencies. The bogus emails have included notifications regarding the closing of accounts, problems with financial transactions and issues involving wire transfers. In many instances, the emails direct consumers to phony websites containing malware, which infects computers and attempts to steal personal information.
We've shared tips about protecting yourself many times, but they are always worth repeating.
Review the suggestions below and share them with anyone in your family or circle of friends who might need a refresher.
*Never* reply to suspicious emails or click on any links.
Instead to check on your accounts use the phone number for the bank you *know* is genuine, or go to your local branch in person.
Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer. And, remember to update them frequently.
Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to check for unauthorized charges.
Do *not* email personal information.
Be cautious about opening attachments from people you don't know, and even people you do know, if something about the email seems strange
If you are concerned about your financial accounts, contact your institution using a telephone number you know to be genuine or visit the institution in person. You can confirm information regarding financial institutions by contacting OFIR at 877-999-6442 or checking online at www.michigan.gov/ofir
- Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as a firewall, and update them all regularly.
- Don’t email personal or financial information.
- Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to check for unauthorized charges.
- Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from emails you receive, regardless of who sent them