DEARBORN — The city of Dearborn is reminding residents to never share personal or financial information online, no matter how real an account may appear, after the discovery of a scam to impersonate elected officials.
The city is alerting the community to a social media scam to impersonate elected officials and defraud Dearborn residents and some non-Dearborn residents as well.
The Dearborn Police Department says fake accounts are contacting community members via social media channels and impersonating government officials such as the chief of police or members of the City Council.
“The purpose of these activities is to leverage personal information about residents or their households to phish for personal, financial or identity information in order to commit fraud,” the Police Department said in a press release.
Anyone who receives a message like this should immediately block and report the account. Government agencies and elected officials will never call, email, direct message or text you to ask for money or personal information.
A fraudulent account can be elaborate and appear very similar to a real one. For example, the username might include the name of the government official, the city says.
The account might even share the same profile picture or description, or may post identical photos previously shared on a real account.
Here are a few tips to avoid scammers, according to the Federal Trade Commission:
- Don’t wire money, send cash or use gift cards or cryptocurrency to pay someone who says they’re from the government.
- Don’t send personal or financial information to someone who texts, calls, direct messages or emails and says they’re with the government.
- Don’t click on links in unexpected emails, texts or direct messages. They could be viruses.
If you or someone you know receives a message from one of these fraudulent accounts, or if you feel that an account is trying to solicit personal or financial information from you, please call Sargent Harless at the Dearborn Police Detective Bureau at (313) 943-2132.