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Madison County Sheriff's Office

Serving the Citizens of Madison County, Since 1836.
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Phishing Scams and Fraudulent Emails and Internet Safety

Unemployment Compensation Scams.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers are taking advantage of the Governments remote (over the Internet) processing of unemployment claims. This is giving scammers a window of opportunity to steel your identity and apply for unemployment without the face to face verifications. It appears, by the volume of calls, 4 to 5 a day, that unemployment identity theft, has been adopted thousands of scammers. If you are a victim of this fraud, make a report to the local law enforcement agency and file a report with the Arkansas Department of Work Services. Their website is: . You may also wish to file an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission. Since this is a nation-wide fraud, they will have the resources to go after these individuals. But they will also provide you with a recovery plan after you have submitted the report. The Recovery plan has valuable information for what steps you need to take next. There website is: .

In the midst of the new craze, Pokemon Go, we feel it necessary to present a few precautions to keep people safe, in particular our youth, while playing the game.

Numerous Facebook Scams scams reported.

Although previously talked about several Facebook scams are still being reported, locally and across the nation as the perpetrators strike promising a sum of cash or vehicle as a rearward but and there is always a but, you just need to pay this lawyers’ fees, or the import tax, or the and the list goes on. They get away with it because of the anonymity of the internet, and part because most people once they realize they have been scammed are embarrassed and won't report it.  Teenage Blackmailing continues as several jurisdictions across the nation have reported Facebook schemes whereby a Facebook user, purporting to be teenage boy/girl, is befriending teenagers and convincing them to perform sexual acts on themselves via video call or "Skype". The suspect records the video and then attempts to extort money from the victim, threatening to send the video to all the victim's Facebook Friends, unless money is wired via Western Union. Once the suspect has a relationship with a target, he/she attempts to make contact with the target's Friends as well. The scam is similar to some of the "Nigerian" scams, but attempts to use the sexual exploitation of the child as leverage. A good rule to follow when sending images of yourself over either a phone or the internet, if the image depicts something that you would not do in public it probably should not be sent to anyone else. If you are or believe you are a victim of a scam contact the Madison County Sheriff Office.

Phishing is a type of deception designed to steal your valuable personal data, such as e-mail account information, credit card numbers, personal information or other account data and passwords.

In recent months, there has been a noticed increase in the number of “phishing” e-mails. These are e-mails that attempt to obtain your personal or account information by falsely posing as a reputable company, and ask you to reply by verifying your account information.

As a general rule most reputable companies will never ask their customers to provide any confidential information through e-mail notification. If you receive a request via e-mail, asking you to "update," "validate," or "confirm" your account information, DO NOT REPLY TO THE E-MAIL OR LINK TO ANY WEB SITES PROVIDED. These e-mails for the most part are not from the company, but are in fact fraudulent attempts to obtain your personal account information.

If you have a question regarding the legitimacy of an e-mail message from a company that you do business with, contact the company directly by phone or in person, to verify the message or go to their web site by typing in the URL and not by following any link in an first, either. If it is from a compsny that you do not do business with ignore the message.

There are several steps you can take to protect you and your family against Phishing Scams:

If you have disclosed personal information to a Phishing/spoofed web site, you may become a victim of identity theft:

If you receive a fraudulent Phishing email appearing to be from a company you may or may not do business with requesting account information, please report it to the companies Security Department within 24 hours from when it was received Do not delete the email as it will provide the investigators evidence to stop the phishing attack and most cases the investigators will most likely want the email forwarded to their office.

In most cases, the perpatrators prey on our weakness. They state that there is a problem with your account and most people want to correct the situation, whatever it might be, as quickly as possible. In most cases, its by following the instructions on the email notification that leads the victim into the prepatrators scam. Others fall pray to greed, thinking that they have won a lottery that they did not sign up for, an unknown /unheard of reletive passed away and left them a fortune, but there is a catch. Just a modest service fee or attorneys fee and a check will be sent. There are two addages that come to mind when dealing with frauds and sceems on the internet, "if it seems to good to be true, it probably is" and "you dont Get something for nothing". Be leary of any unsolicited internet offers, work at home scams, or cashing a check for a sale you made in excess of the amount of the sale. Rember, if in doubt contact the Sheriff's Office.