ON YOUR SIDE: Branson Police Department shares tips to recognize fraudulent emails and texts

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 5:02 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 15, 2021 at 5:21 PM CDT
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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) -The Branson Police Department is reminding the community about internet phishing during Cyber Security Awareness Month.

Branson Assistant Police Chief, Eric Schmitt, says phishing is an electronic form of tricking people into giving up personal information.

Hackers are looking specifically for passwords or user names for various accounts.

”It’s automated anymore these days, so once they get a hold of it, they can run it through a computer program and try to hit every one of your accounts,” Eric Schmitt said.

This can happen through both email and texts. Schmitt says there are few ways to recognize phishing.

”If you receive a link from email or text that takes you to something to enter your name and password, don’t use that link,” Schmitt said.

You should also check the sender of the message carefully.

”If your bank is US Bank, you know what your domain is. Then you open it up and it’s 2,3000 symbols and a foreign country URL or something, it’s pretty easy to spot,” said Schmitt.

Branson visitor Lyla Lynn says sometimes the sender seems reliable.

”Some of them I’ve gotten from Amazon or Apple that looked super legit and it’ll even have the logo,” Lyla Lynn said.

Phishing can also be in the form of threats.

”'You’re gonna go to jail. Your social security card has been stolen,’” Branson resident Bev Eugenio said she received from various messages.

Bev Eugenio says she receives scam calls, emails, and texts daily. One recurring text she receives says it’s from a local bank in Branson.

”Simmons Bank, it’s saying that my card is locked up. We don’t have an account at Simmons Bank,” Eugenio said.

Eugenio says she recently started blocking the numbers.

”I just try my best to be alert, and when I do get that, I’ll let my friends know too,” said Eugenio.

Lynn says you should read through messages several times to look for clues that they might be fake as well.

”If you’re still unsure about it, ask somebody,” said Lynn.

To report suspicious messages, CLICK HERE

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