Officials Warn of Phishing Scam

Posted Tuesday, March 17, 2009 --- 4:09 p.m.

News release from the Rock County Sheriff's Office:

The Rock County Sheriff’s Office and other local law enforcement agencies have been receiving complaints of attempts to retrieve personal identifying information by cell phone. These attempts to gain personal information are referred to “phishing” when attempted via computer and Internet, and “phreaking” when attempted using a phone.

Sheriff Spoden would like citizens to protect themselves from being victims of identity theft. Be skeptical of persons claiming to represent your financial institution, utility provider or other business holding or requiring your personal information.

If you receive a call, text message, e-mail or other communication from someone claiming to be from a legitimate business requiring your personal information, do not give out your personal identifying information. This information can include your birthday, social security number, account number, address or anything else used to identify you.

The best response to one of these messages is to not speak with the caller or sender. Instead, call the business or institution they claimed to represent directly. Call the number listed on your regular statement.

In addition to protecting your information, you should regularly check your credit report for discrepancies. The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act guarantees you access to a free credit report from each of the three nationwide reporting agencies — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — every twelve months. This allows a person to check their credit report up to three times a year by rotating through the reporting agencies. is the ONLY authorized source to get your free annual credit report under federal law. More information on identity theft and credit reports is available from the Federal Trade Commission website,

If you would like more information on identity theft or would like a Crime Prevention Deputy to speak at your next community event, contact Deputy Paul Kremer at 608-290-4588.

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