DIFS issues consumer alert on increased number of scam phone calls and text messages

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is warning consumers of a common scam where victims receive a fraud phone call or text from someone posing to be from their financial institution in an attempt to steal funds from financial accounts.

“The criminals perpetrating these fraudulent schemes are becoming increasingly cunning, and victims can lose thousands of dollars if they aren’t careful. It is up to every one of us to take the necessary precautions to protect our personal information, even when it appears that a phone call or text message is coming from a legitimate source.”

Anita Fox, Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services Director

The scam involves the victim receiving a phone call or text message that seams to be from the financial institution’s legitimate phone number with a technique known as “spoofing.” Spoofing is where the individual making the scam call poses as a trusted source through convincing communication that sounds legitimate.

In the call or text, the scammer lies to the victim about an issue with their account. The issue the scammer is trying to convince the victim of could be an unauthorized purchase or overdraft. The scammer then attempts to assure them that they’re trustworthy and can help fix the issue. The scammer tells the victim they just need some account credentials or personal information first to move forward. The scammer then receives the information they need in order to log in, initiate transfers and ultimately steal money.

The scammers use a comforting and assuring approach with the tone of their voice and communication.

DIFS tips to not be a victim of scam phone calls or text messages:

-Never provide personal information about financial accounts over the phone, unless you made the call.

-If the person contacting you says that there is a problem that must be resolved immediately, hang up and call the phone number that you know will get you to someone who can be trusted.

-Use multifactor authentication measures in addition to a password to log into accounts, such as a security code sent via text message or email.

If you believe you are a victim of fraud, first contact your financial institution or the company that the compromised account is with to attempt to resolve the issue.

If you feel the company did not appropriately handle your complaint, you can contact DIFS at 877-999-6442.

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