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State Treasurer urges Michiganders to be alert for phishing emails

Scammers looking for opportunities 24 hours a day, seven days a week

LANSING – State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks today issued an urgent reminder to be aware of phishing emails sent by scammers seeking to obtain the personal information and the hard-earned money of Michigan’s taxpayers.

Similar to the phishing scam that targeted the Michigan’s Attorney General before, Michigan Department of Treasury staff members were subjected to a phishing scam. Individuals were led to believe they had received an important email from the state treasurer requesting they purchase gift cards for her.

Treasury employees were quick to identify and report the scam, with no staff members falling victim to the scammer’s tactics.

“Unfortunately, scammers look for opportunities to take advantage of us when they know we are all working around the clock,” State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks said. “These phishing emails often look like they’re coming from a familiar name and include legitimate-seeming requests for information or assistance. I want to urge all Michiganders to be extra careful when responding to emails and report scams to the Michigan Attorney General’s office.”

Although these phishing emails use a certain set of ingredients — such as a sense of urgency and believable stories or connections — recipients should pay close attention to the following:

— The name listed on the “from” line is not an indication of who is emailing! Pay close attention to the actual email address. If the email address doesn’t match up with what you know to be correct or is abnormally long, it’s likely a phishing scam.

— The request is asking for money through an unusual payment method: Gifts cards, wire transfers and cash reload cards are a clear indication of a scam.

— Misspelled words or poor grammar in the body of the email are red flags identifying a scam.

— Do not reply to suspicious emails. By doing so, a recipient confirms to the sender that they’ve reached a valid email. They will then continue to send spam emails through various email addresses and also attempt to hack the recipient’s account. These bad actors have sophisticated software that generates thousands of different email addresses automatically, thus preventing recipients from effectively blocking their attempts. Lastly, as indicated in the attempt sent to state of Michigan staff, by replying to the email, scammers will attempt to reach more individuals in an organization by using the recipient’s name to keep the scam going.

Do not fall for this! Immediately mark the email as spam and delete it.

Remember, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection webpage is always available as a resource for consumers to turn to.

Those who wish to make a report about potential scams can do so with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection team by filing a complaint online or by calling 877-765-8388.