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Midland police encourage vigilance after spate of phone scams

Phone scams prompt online vigilence
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Midland Police say they are getting reports of scammers calling people claiming to be with the police department and demanding warrant money or be taken to jail. This warning is making residents hyper-aware of all popular scams: including online scams

Getting caught up in a scam is getting harder to detect because of how savvy criminals are getting at disguising the way they approach their victims as legitimate companies. Some people may not even report getting scammed because they may be embarrassed, they were duped.

Chris Barnhart is an IT Technician with Pure Technology Solutions in Mt Pleasant. He says it’s nothing to be embarrassed about, that scammers are finding new ways to trick people. He says there are ways to protect yourself though when it comes to trickery on the phone or online.

Barnhart said, “The whole point of current scams online feels like it all revolves around the social engineering concept. You might get something on a website that says call this number and then you call the number and it's not who you are calling, it's some people impersonating out in India and then they end up saying your computer is infected you need to purchase this anti-virus software for 300 dollars a year.”

Barnhart added most people he has seen, requesting help about scams, are those generally over the age of sixty. He says he thinks it’s because the older generation are quick to click on links without questioning what they are or they answer their phones when people call as opposed to younger generations, who let it go to voicemail more often.

“It’s important to be vigilant in terms of what you’re clicking on,” Barnhart says, “Make sure you’re clicking on the right link. If you’re ever in doubt, the best thing to do is to Google the link yourself and go to it that way rather than go to it from an email address from maybe somebody you don’t recognize and same thing for phone numbers.

Barnhart says one way to surely get scammed is to have an older email address. He says there’s a good chance that the email that’s linked to an older website has been hacked. The scammers are then able to get passwords, personal information, emails, bank information and more. So, signing up for a new email to use for trusted sites and loved ones while keeping the old one to monitor activity, is a good start to protecting oneself from scammers.