Chicago – Attorney General Kwame Raoul today urged Illinois residents to be wary of scammers who use unsolicited email or text messages to trick consumers into sharing personal and financial information. Raoul encourages all consumers to stay aware of these unsolicited messages and to continue to report these incidents to his office.
Unsolicited messages may be email phishing or text message smishing scams. Phishing is when scammers send a deceptive email to trick Internet users into revealing personal or confidential information. Smishing, or Short Message Service (SMS) phishing, is when scammers send a deceptive text message to trick cell phone users in the same way. Phishing and smishing messages may contain links to harmful software that could enable scammers to steal information from your phone or computer. Raoul’s office warned consumers to not click any links in an unsolicited email or text and to delete the message immediately.
“Consumers should be suspicious of unsolicited emails and text messages asking for personal or financial information. It is important to know government agencies will not request sensitive personal information via an email or text message,” Raoul said. “Even if a phone number appears to be local or an email address seems familiar, do not respond. If you think a message is suspicious, contact the business or agency in question using information from its official website.”
Raoul also offered the following tips to help consumers protect themselves from scammers:
Raoul advised those who have replied to smishing texts or clicked on links provided in such texts and emails can reduce the risk of identity theft by signing up for free bank or credit card transaction alerts, placing a fraud alert with one of the three credit reporting agencies, or placing a freeze on their credit reports. Those individuals also should update their computer’s security software, run a scan and remove anything identified as a problem. Consumers should also make sure they are using the most updated version of their phone’s operating system.
If you believe you have been the victim of identity theft or other fraud, Raoul encourages you to file a complaint on the Attorney General’s website, review the identity theft online resources and call Raoul’s toll-free Identity Theft Hotline at 866-999-5630. Consumers can also call one of the Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Hotlines:
1-866-310-8398 (Spanish-language hotline)