Michigan State Police urges online vigilance to avoid internet and phone scams

The MSP said it receives multiple calls every week concerning people who have fallen victim to social media or phone scams.
Michigan State Police
Michigan State Police(WLUC)
Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 9:17 PM EDT
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WESTERN U.P., Mich. (WLUC) - Online scams are a common occurrence in our increasingly digital world.

To prevent yourself from falling victim, the Michigan State Police (MSP) is urging you to stay vigilant online. MSP Negaunee Post Lieutenant Mark Giannunzio says the MSP gets multiple calls a week regarding people who have fallen victim to social media or phone scams.

Lt. Giannunzio added some common scams involve accounts pretending to be a distant relative messaging somebody on social media asking for money or personal information.

“It happens all too often with these scams that go on through social media,” Lt. Giannunzio said. “Facebook is the biggest one right now. Here, some people are unfortunately giving up their personal information when they think that they are talking to somebody that they may know. In reality, they have no idea who this person is.”

Lt. Giannunzio gave some advice on how to avoid falling victim to these types of scams.

“If there is any indication that you do not know who you are talking to online, get away from that conversation, delete it and do not talk to them,” Lt. Giannunzio explained.

Lt. Giannunzio added that some other scams include receiving calls requesting bail money from somebody impersonating a police officer.

“The other very common scam that is out there now is not necessarily on social media,” Lt. Giannunzio said. “These are phone calls where someone tells you that your grandson or granddaughter is in jail in a different state and the caller needs bail money. These people make it sound very credible, but it is not. Do not ever give money to them.”

Lt. Giannunzio added that many of these internet and phone fraud crimes go unsolved. This is based on the fact that most of these criminals hide their identities very well.

“The federal government and FBI will get involved a little bit in crimes like these, but 99% of the time, these go unsolved,” Lt. Giannunzio said.

Lt. Giannunzio said he encourages anyone who thinks they may be a target of a scam to reach out to the MSP or their local police department for help.

As a reminder, never give your personal information to anyone you do not know.

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