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What should I do with these scam emails?

Do I delete the emails immediately (and definitely do not click on any link within the email), or is there some cyber crime agency (federal, state, or local) I should be contacting to report this fraudulent activity.

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Lately, I have been getting some (obvious to me), phishing emails. For example from Chase Bank Services, Amazon, DHL Express, Wells Fargo, etc. I do not have anything at Chase Bank, DHL, Wells Fargo, nor have I done any business with Amazon in a number of months.

The title in all of them proclaim some sort of emergency that my account will be locked soon, or that my account needs verification, etc. Again, this is obvious to me that this is some illegal phishing scheme. Furthermore, when I click on sender details, it is some bogus email (nothing related to who the supposed sender is).

Here's my question, that I would appreciate your ever-reliable response to: Do I delete the emails immediately (and definitely do not click on any link within the email), or is there some cyber crime agency (federal, state, or local) I should be contacting to report this fraudulent activity. -- Signed A Wary Senior Citizen

You're right to be wary. Scams can come in all shapes and sizes these days and by countless means, too. Email, phone and even a knock on the door could lead the unsuspecting down a path to identity theft or financial loss. That doesn't mean, though, that there is a boogeyman behind every corner and that we should live our lives in fear.

It does mean that we should educate ourselves, our friends, our loved ones and neighbors on how to avoid becoming prey to a scammer.

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We reached out to the Rochester Police Department's resident scam expert, Sgt. Eric Strop, for the download on how to stay safe.

He agrees with you and says "do not click on any links in emails or texts from unknown sources. It is always a good practice to just delete those messages."

"If you question the legitimacy of an email or text, do not respond in any way," Strop said. "You can contact law enforcement for assistance or guidance."

Scams can also be reported to the Federal Trade Commission website at www.reportfraud.ftc.gov. The FTC is pretty clear on its website that they can't resolve an individual report, but the reports are used to investigate and bring cases against fraud, scams and bad business practices.

The FTC also has these five tips on how to avoid a scam:

  1. Block unwanted calls and text messages.
  2. Don’t give your personal or financial information in response to a request that you didn’t expect.
  3. Resist the pressure to act immediately.
  4. Know how scammers tell you to pay.
  5. Stop and talk to someone you trust.

Strop also had this reminder: the IRS and Social Security Administration will NOT call you. They will send you requests by mail.
If you do accidentally share your personal information or Social Security number, report it to your local law enforcement agency and at IdentityTheft.gov .

Send questions for the Answer Man to answerman@postbulletin.com .

Related Topics: ANSWER MANPUBLIC SAFETY
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