Trooper Rob: How to recognize, avoid phishingPublished 4:09pm Monday, November 5, 2012
By Rob Herbstreith, Michigan State Police Niles Post
What is phishing? Phishing is a term referring to the use of the telephone, email or other mechanisms to steal your personal information. Phishers pretend to be legitimate organizations that you may already deal with, such as your bank, a vendor, a store. Phishing messages look and sound official and legitimate and can fool unsuspecting people. They may even include information the bad actor has obtained from a Facebook page. Phishers give a legitimate-sounding reason for why you should give them sensitive information. They often threaten to close your account if you refuse.
How do you know if you are being “phished”? You may be contacted out of the blue and asked to go to a site on the Internet so the caller can help you fix the problem. You may be asked to give confidential information by phone. Don’t call any number given to you by the caller or reply to an email; it may be part of the scam. Every time you are asked to click on a link in an email to provide confidential information, you may be dealing with a phisher. Never click on such links and delete the email message immediately. Legitimate companies never ask for this type of information in an email as email is not secure. The unsubscribe link may be infected with a virus, also.
You can protect yourself from phishing by never emailing personal or confidential information. Type the addresses in the browsers; never click on links in unsolicited emails. Change passwords and PINS frequently. Review credit card and bank statements for unauthorized charges and report them immediately. Regularly check your credit status with the three major credit bureaus.
Using common sense can be a large part of the prevention. If it doesn’t sound right, then it probably isn’t. Visit your banks in person if you receive calls or emails. Be safe and be smart.
In the Line of Duty
On Nov. 5, 1999, Tpr. Frederick Hardy, 26, from the Detroit Post, and his partner, Tpr. Lavern Willet, began the night shift about 8 p.m. While patrolling eastbound I-96 around midnight, they stopped a speeder between Livernois and Joy Road. As Tpr. Hardy was exiting his vehicle on the driver’s side, he was struck by a passing car that had driven off the roadway, sideswiping the patrol car and striking the trooper. The driver continued eastbound without stopping. Lifesaving efforts were administered at the scene and Tpr. Hardy was transported to Detroit Receiving Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
After receiving a tip later the next day, the Detroit Police Department arrested David Williams, 30, of Detroit. Williams’ sister had notified police that David borrowed her car, which matched news reports describing the wanted vehicle. Williams was charged with numerous misdemeanors and felonies, including manslaughter, OWI causing death, driving while license suspended and fleeing the scene of an accident causing death.
An MSU graduate, Tpr. Hardy was a lieutenant in the Marines before enlisting in the MSP on Jan. 21, 1990, and being assigned to the Battle Creek Post, later, in 1996, transferring to the Detroit Post.
Tpr. Hardy’s wife is a Detroit Police officer. He is buried in Detroit and became the 47th MSP trooper to die in the line of duty.