NEGAUNEE TOWNSHIP — It seems that scams designed to glean personal information — ultimately resulting in identity or monetary fraud — are a regular occurrence these days.

Whether by phone or internet, scammers — like those claiming to be IRS agents demanding payment — can play off a victim’s fears to get private information like bank and Social Security numbers. But not all scammers are cold–callers or spam e–mailers. Individuals who sell items online can open themselves up to unscrupulous buyers, so they should also take precautions to make sure they don’t lose out.

“You want to make sure that you use sites that are reliable and that are safety checked,” said Trooper Stacey Rasanen of the Michigan State Police Negaunee Post. “You want to contact the people direct so that you know who you’re actually speaking to.”

Businesses and private residents can both be targeted by scammers. It’s important to let authorities know if you feel as though you’ve been victimized.

“If you have been a victim, we always encourage people to come into your nearest State Police post, Sheriff’s Department, city police department — we want to know what’s going on so that we can help you out,” added Rasanen.

Remember to never give personal information out to untrusted parties. Authorities say you should also never wire money to an unknown person — contact law enforcement instead.

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