How to Ruin a Scammer's Day
What would you do if a caller said they were from your bank and told you there was a problem with your account? If they asked to verify your information so you could continue using your debit card, would you give it to them?
Sudden, high-pressure situations can catch you off guard. Scammers know this and use it to take advantage of people. Here’s how experts say you can stop them in their tracks.
A classic setup for a scam involves calling you out of the blue, posing as a representative of a trusted organization, and pressuring you to pay or give out personal information without hanging up.
Resist the pressure to act immediately, and instead exercise skepticism. Ask yourself these questions:
- Were you expecting this organization to reach out to you?
- Is the caller giving you time to make a decision?
- Are they asking you to pay via gift card, money transfer service, cryptocurrency, or other unusual payment methods?
The Michigan Attorney General says legitimate organizations won’t call, email, or text demanding your payment information; they will give you time to decide. They might be trying to scam you if they insist you pay in a way you normally wouldn’t.
Verify Their Story
This applies to more than just phone calls. The Michigan Department of Attorney General says you should always double-check the information someone gives you before taking action.
If you receive an email or text that says it’s from a company you do business with, and it’s asking you to pay, double-check the email address or phone number that it comes from. Do you recognize it? And if not, does it make sense?
Legitimate organizations have their contact information posted publicly. Visit the website of the business that’s supposedly trying to get ahold of you and try to find the email address or phone number that reached out to you. If you don’t see it, it never hurts to contact the organization via the information on their website and ask if they’re trying to reach you.
Be wary of suspicious email attachments—for example, file types you don’t recognize or attachments you didn’t ask for. These files often contain computer viruses that can steal your personal information.
Make a Report
Reporting scams helps keep others from falling victim and can provide you with a way to take legal action. To file a complaint with the Michigan Department of Attorney General, visit michigan.gov/ag/complaints.
Scammers Pretending to Be MEC
MEC representatives cannot take payments over the phone, and they will not call you to ask for money. If your bill is past due, you will receive an automated phone call and a paper and email notification.
The email address that we use for billing communication and e-bills is email@example.com.
Look for the MEC logo on our employees’ and contractors’ trucks. If you’re concerned about someone on your property, call 911.