AG’s office warns of scam

Published 7:00 am Friday, June 3, 2016

According to a release from Mississippi’s Attorney General Jim Hood, some criminals are utilizing new methods to commit identity theft and fraud, which includes “Phishing” emails.
Thursday, Hood released a statement urging Mississippians to practice caution when they receive an email or test message that initially looks similar to legitimate correspondence from a bank or business.
Recently, consumers were targets of an email allegedly sent from a Memphis-based financial institution, the release states. However, it was an attempt by scammers to gain access to banking information by eliciting personal and financial data from consumers. This practice is known as “phishing,” the release states.
In this instance, the suspects stole the company’s letterhead and used language in the email that initially makes it appear that the customer is being contacted by the institution. Upon further inspection the email was proven illegitimate, the release states. In this email, there were grammatical errors and the message font was inconsistent. Additionally, reference was made to a different bank and time zone, the release states.
The Attorney General urges consumers to contact their banks or credits unions to double-check the validity of unsolicited emails, the release states.
“As we rely more and more on technology in our daily lives, scammers respond with increasingly sophisticated ways to use technology to cheat and steal,” Hood said in the release. “Fortunately, there are often some red flags that can help consumers spot these brazen attempts at fraud and identity theft.”
Hood encourages consumers to follow these recommendations:
• Never provide personal or financial information in response to an unsolicited email or text.
• Financial institutions will not seek to verify information such as bank account or credit card numbers.
• Do not open links or attachments on unsolicited emails or text messages. These can lead to viruses and malware designed to steal data.
• Always be suspicious of anyone that sends an email or text message asking for money to wired or placed on a prepaid debit card.
Hood also suggests in the release that consumers who receive suspicious emails or text messages might want to contact the business supposedly sending the messages to let them know their name is being used with fraudulent intent.
Mississippians who have provided information in response to a phishing scam should contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office at 800-281-4418, the release states.
For more information about how to guard against identity theft and scams, visit the Attorney General’s website at

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