Columbia Township’s Interim Police Chief, Jay Niles, reports a phishing scam via email.  What follows are Sergeant Niles’ recommendations to protect yourself. 

“Over the past two weeks we have received several complaints of a phishing scam via email. In this current instance the suspect is threatening the release of personal information that is allegedly possessed (however this is typically not true) if a financial requirement is not made. In the event the financial requirement is not fulfilled then your personal information will be made public and taken advantage of.

“These scams have been prevalent for some time now and will continue to be so. The criminals that continue to perpetuate these scams will make their efforts look convincing. The email may appear to come from banks, social networking, credit card companies of different variety or even make the attempt to look like a personal email.  Incorporated into the email from the criminals will be instruction to either provide funds of some variety or incorporate malware that will automatically download sometimes without your knowledge thus damaging your computer or device making it unusable and compromising the personal information contained within the computer or device.

“There are various ways to combat these phishing scams:

 Make sure the security and anti-virus software for the computer or device is functioning correctly and updated.
 Be wary of “pop-ups”, the “pop-up” will look very convincing and seem legitimate when it is not.
 Never give out personal information.
 Check all your online accounts (email, social media, financial) regularly making sure there is no unauthorized
 Be very critical of links that randomly appear in emails or text.

“The federal trade commission website ( is a very useful tool to learn more about how to recognize and fight these scams and what to do should you fall victim to the scam.  We receive reports of scams like the one discussed above and others several times a week. Do not become a victim of these scams. If you are not sure if the information is a scam, please feel free to contact the Columbia Township Police
Department at 517-592-3122 for assistance and we will help.