Michigan State Police Urges Online Vigilance to Prevent Internet and Phone Scams

WESTERN UP, Michigan (WLUC) — Online scams are common in our increasingly digital world.

To avoid becoming a victim, the Michigan State Police (MSP) is urging you to remain vigilant online. MSP Negaunee Post Lieutenant Mark Giannunzio says the MSP is called several times a week about people who have been victims of social media or telephone scams.

Lieutenant Giannunzio added that some common scams involve accounts posing as a distant relative who message someone on social media asking for money or personal information.

“It happens all too often with these social media scams,” said Lieutenant Giannunzio. “Facebook is currently the biggest. This is where some people unfortunately give up their personal information if they think they are talking to someone they may know. In reality, they have no idea who this person is.”

Lieutenant Giannunzio gave some advice to avoid falling victim to this kind of scam.

“If there’s any indication that you don’t know who you’re talking to online, stop that conversation, delete it and don’t talk to them,” Lieutenant Giannunzio explained.

Lieutenant Giannunzio added that some other scams include receiving phone calls asking for bail from someone posing as a police officer.

“The other common scam out there right now is not necessarily on social media,” said Lieutenant Giannunzio. “These are calls where someone tells you that your grandson or granddaughter is in prison in another state and the caller needs bail. These people make it sound very believable, but it isn’t. Never give them money.”

Lieutenant Giannunzio added that many of these internet and telephone fraud crimes remain unsolved. This is based on the fact that most of these criminals hide their identities well.

“The federal government and the FBI are going to get a little involved in these kinds of crimes, but 99% of the time they go unsolved,” said Lieutenant Giannunzio.

Lieutenant Giannunzio said he encourages anyone who believes they have been targeted by a scam to contact the MSP or their local police department for assistance.

As a reminder, never give your personal information to anyone you don’t know.

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