The West Chicago Police Department is reminding its residents to beware of cyber criminals who are out to steal money and personal information. A possible scam involves a phishing email offering a chance at a lottery drawing under the auspices of PCH International.
The subject of the email is titled “Letter,” with an attached letter appearing to be on letterhead from Publishers Clearing House regarding “Official Prize Notification.” The letter goes on to ask the recipient for personal information, such as full name, date of birth, residential address and more.
Residents are encouraged to report suspicious emails and have several options:
- Contact 9-1-1 to file a police report
- File a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center
- Forward unsolicited email offers to the Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) website offers the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of cyber fraud:
- Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) e-mail.
- Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail.
- Be cautious of e-mail claiming to contain pictures in attached files; the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders. Scan the attachments for viruses if possible.
- Avoid filling out forms contained in e-mail messages that ask for personal information.
- Always compare the link in the e-mail to the link you are actually directed to and determine if they match and will lead you to a legitimate site.
- Log on directly to the official website for the business identified in the e-mail instead of “linking” to it from an unsolicited e-mail. If the e-mail appears to be from your bank, credit card issuer, or other company you deal with frequently, your statements or official correspondence from the business will provide the proper contact information.
- Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the e-mail to verify that the e-mail is genuine.
- If you are requested to act quickly or there is an emergency that requires your attention, it may be a scam. Fraudsters create a sense of urgency to get you to act quickly.
- Remember if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Further information on cybercrime may be obtained by contacting the West Chicago Police Department at (630) 293-2222.