Officials remind residents to watch for scams
ALPENA — When information seems too good to be true, there’s a good chance that it is, local law enforcement officials say.
To that end, officials strongly recommend against giving out personal information, over the phone or otherwise, to people they don’t know.
“If it feels too good to be true, it probably is. You don’t win money for things you didn’t sign up for. You don’t have random people, leaving you millions of dollars in inheritance,” Jason Kunath, a community service trooper for the Michigan State Police-Alpena post, said. “Never give out your personal information over the phone.”
Within the United States, Michigan is ranked eighth amongst states with the most reported victims of cyber crimes with 13,566 according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2022 Internet crime report. This marks an increase in victims from 2021 which numbered 10,390.
Kunath released information that described three of the most common types of scams the MSP receives complaints about.
As the community service trooper for the Alpena post, Kunath often gives talks and presentations on the different kinds of scams and frauds. He said the information he released would act as a quick guide to some things people should watch out for.
Three common scams Kunath outlined are:
∫ The computer anti-virus scam, where the victim has a pop-up on their computer screen with a message saying the computer has been infected with a virus.
∫ The puppy scam, where the victim receives an advertisement for a breed of dog they are interested in.
∫ The social media relationship scam, where the victim, via social media, is contacted by a scammer who will feign interest in starting a relationship.
“I’ve been giving presentations about scams and fraud and seeing how many people weren’t aware of the types of scams out there,” Kunath said. “It’s the little bit of time it can take for me to just type up a release of, you know, a little article about this could save a lot of people some trouble and some money.”
Kunath also mentioned additional scams that residents should be wary of:
∫ Lottery scams, where the victim is contacted about winning the lottery and the scammer calls them claiming the need to pay a fee to collect the money.
∫ Inheritance scams, where the victim is contacted and told they received a large inheritance, and the scammer reaches out for bank information claiming to need it to wire the money.
∫ Rental scams, where the scammer impersonates a realtor and attempts to get the victim to pay them under the illusion they are renting a property.
∫ Tax scams, where the scammer impersonates an IRS agent and attempts to get bank information from the victim, claiming that it is for taxes.