Be alert for phone scams

I encourage everyone to look out for phone and email scams and to take steps to protect themselves. Scam artists are becoming increasingly clever in disguising who they are and tricking people into giving them money or personal information.

Someone claiming to represent the “Fundraising Center for Law Enforcement and Troopers” recently called Midland County Sheriff Scott Stephenson and asked for a donation. The organization appears to be a scam. The Michigan Sheriffs’ Association assists local sheriff’s offices and does not do phone solicitations.

You can avoid most scams by never clicking on unfamiliar email links, never opening emails from unknown senders and never giving out credit card, bank account or Social Security numbers over the phone.

You can report a suspected scam to the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-765-8388. If you are a victims of a scam, please contact your local law enforcement agency. If scammers were able to get your credit card or bank account information, contact your financial institution immediately.

The attorney general’s office also offers “Consumer Alerts” at under “Services,” including alerts on identity theft and popular scams.

Another scam that often occurs this time of year is a scammer making unsolicited phone calls claiming to be a tax official.

Both state and federal tax officials will never initially contact residents by phone demanding immediate payment, and they will never threaten to call the police to arrest you for not paying. If you get a call like that, hang up. It’s a scam.

Consumers may place their home and cell phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry. To register, residents can call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number they want to register. For more information or to register online, visit