University News

OPS Warns of Phishing, Door-to-Door Scams

September 13, 2017

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MACOMB, IL -- The Western Illinois University Office of Public Safety (OPS) would like to alert the Western community about phishing scams currently circulating via e-mail, as well as possible door-to-door scams.

According to OPS Lt. Kalib McGruder, the individual tells the email recipient to send a check for a specified amount and then he/she will receive additional compensation for doing so. McGruder added that fortunately the recipient of the email didn't fall for the "deal" and reported the email directly to OPS.

McGruder stressed that individuals should not provide any personal information to anyone calling or emailing with these "too good to be true offers," not click on any links or attempt to reply and most certainly, not provide financial information or send money.

"Anyone asking you to send money to get money, to cash a check you weren't expecting or asking you to provide your personal information is typically not affiliated with a reputable organization," McGruder added. "Some of these ads, requests and calls appear authentic; however, under no circumstances should you cash checks that arrive unsolicited or give out personal information, including credit card numbers, checking account numbers or your Social Security number."

According to the U.S. Secret Service, protecting yourself against fraud and identity theft is simple: notify your bank or credit card company immediately if you have lost your card; do not put your credit card number or Social Security number on checks; do not give your credit card number or other personal numbers to anyone calling on the telephone or e-mailing offering you prizes or gifts; do not give your checking account number to people you do not know, even if they claim they are from your bank; and check bank statements carefully.

In addition to the phishing scam circulating via email, there have been reports of individuals approaching residences in the community representing electric companies and the U.S. Census Bureau. McGruder stressed that individuals who are not known to the resident should never been let into the home, nor should information be provided.

"Besides not answering the door, the best defense is to never respond to unsolicited services. Should you answer the door, request identification and a business card, and then report the solicitation to the local or campus police department, he added. "Reputable services and businesses will go through the proper channels. However, some less-than-reputable individuals may also go through those proper channels. It is best to be wary of any door-to-door solicitations of service, money-saving offers and inquiries regarding personal information."

Members of the WIU campus community who have fallen victim to a phishing scam, or wish to report suspicious activity, should contact the Office of Public Safety at (309) 298-1949.

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