By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions
The alerts have been numerous. They have been included in many of the e-mails that I have received from State Senators and Representatives in Illinois.
One of the e-mails that I received on Friday highlighted a CBS Chicago news report from earlier in the week that was headlined “Scammers are Impersonating Nearly Every State Department in Pfishing Scheme, and People are Falling for It.”
The Illinois Secretary of State Office, Department of Labor, Department of Transportation, and Department of Employment Security were all mentioned.
One of the scams mentioned in the CBS story involved people getting a text message that appears to come from the Illinois Department of Transportation about the need to provide information to validate your driver license. The Department of Transportation has nothing to do with driver licenses; driver licenses are the province of the Secretary of State.
Here is a link to the CBS Chicago story https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2021/07/12/scammers-impersonating-illinois-state-departments-phishing-scams/
Other e-mails called attention to a different drivers license scam. The alert advised us to “Watch Out for Scam Targeting Drivers!
Those holding an Illinois Driver License are being targeted through e-mails and text messages by scammers phishing for information. The license holders are receiving an e-mail or text message that appears to be from the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office. The message says the individual’s license has been suspended. Recipients are asked to verify or fill-in missing personal information that the scammers can use to steal your identity.
The alert notes that the Secretary of State’s Office would not be using e-mail or text messages to communicate important information such as a license suspension. Important communications would only be sent by mail.
Officials advise you to delete the e-mail or text message; do not open or respond.
The Daily Herald posted a news story about the scam. https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20210705/its-a-scam-thousands-of-drivers-targeted-by-text-email
As was mentioned during an informational program conducted earlier this month at the Deer Path of Huntley affordable assisted living community, identity theft is happening more frequently.
Police Officer Megan Carney of the Police Department in Huntley, Illinois conducted the program.
Calls about scams and identity theft are one of the most prevalent calls the department gets, she said. The reason why is that identity theft is a high reward, low risk crime. The chances of being caught are slim, particularly because the scammers usually operate from outside the United States.
During the informational program, Officer Carney offered a checklist of steps you can take to help protect yourself.
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Since you can obtain a report at no charge once a year from each of these major credit bureaus, one idea is to obtain one from one of the three bureaus today; another report from another of the three credit bureaus four months from now; and another from the third bureau eight months from now.
If you spot signs of possible fraud in a credit bureau report, contact the bureau.
In addition to the identity theft and fraud protection tips mentioned by Officer Carney, the FBI offers tips to avoid becoming a victim of phishing and spoofing types of scams at https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-scams-and-crimes/spoofing-and-phishing