Hazelwood Police Department

Frauds and Schemes

Phishing Scams

The FDIC has created this webpage to inform and warn consumers about a type of fraud called “phishing.” The term "phishing" – as in fishing for confidential information - refers to a scam that encompasses fraudulently obtaining and using an individual's personal or financial information. This is how it works:

  • A consumer receives an e-mail which appears to originate from a financial institution, government agency, or other well-known/reputable entity.
  • The message describes an urgent reason you must "verify" or "re-submit" personal or confidential information by clicking on a link embedded in the message.
  • The provided link appears to be the Web site of the financial institution, government agency or other well-known/reputable entity, but in "phishing" scams, the Web site belongs to the fraudster/scammer.
  • Once inside the fraudulent Web site, the consumer may be asked to provide Social Security numbers, account numbers, passwords or other information used to identify the consumer, such as the maiden name of the consumer's mother or the consumer's place of birth.
  • When the consumer provides the information, those perpetrating the fraud can begin to access consumer accounts or assume the person's identity.

Since January 23, 2004, criminals have been using the FDIC's name and reputation to perpetrate various “phishing” schemes. It is important to note that the FDIC will never ask for personal or confidential information in this manner. See the FDIC Privacy Policy for further information.

If you suspect an e-mail or Web site is fraudulent, please report this information to the real bank, company or government agency, using a phone number or e-mail address from a reliable source. Example: If your bank's Web page looks different or unusual, contact the institution directly to confirm that you haven't landed on a copycat Web site set up by criminals. Also, contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov), a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center.

If you suspect that you have been a victim of identity theft, perhaps because you submitted personal information in response to a suspicious, unsolicited e-mail or you see unauthorized charges on your credit card, immediately contact your financial institution and, if necessary, close existing accounts and open new ones. Also contact the police and request a copy of any police report or case number for later reference. In addition, call the three major credit bureaus (Equifax at 800-525-6285, Experian at 888-397-3742 and TransUnion at 800-680-7289) to request that a fraud alert be placed on your credit report.

Below are current links with information regarding phishing:

Federal Trade Commission (FTC):

  • Phishy Videos - A humorous series of videos with practical, useful, and memorable messages. The videos are presented on FTC's channel on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/FTCvideos).

Known Frauds, Schemes, and Helpful Tips.


Pigeon drop

This scheme accounts for more than half of the confidence games reported to police. The swindlers claim to have found a large sum of money and offer to share it with you. You are asked to withdraw "good faith" money from your bank. The swindlers take the "good faith" money and give you a phoney address where you are to collect your share of the money. You never see them again.

Bank examiner
A phoney bank examiner contacts you and asks for your help in catching a dishonest bank employee. He asks you to withdraw a specified amount of cash from your account so that he may check the serial numbers. After turning over your money to the examiner, you never hear from him again.

Door-to-door sales
Many door-to-door sales are not legitimate. Provincial laws protect you against quick sales at your door. Enquire and be sure.


Consumer frauds
Beware of contests which require you to put up money to win, even if there is a guarantee that you will be a winner.

Home improvement offers
Beware of tempting home improvement offers, made through the mail or on-the-spot. These offers are a popular type of swindle. 

Chain referral schemes
These schemes offer a commission for buying one item and selling additional ones to friends. The products are usually over-priced and difficult to sell.

Retirement estates
Any retirement estates offered at conspicuously low prices to "lucky" individuals are usually fraudulent and should be avoided. 

Business opportunities
Business opportunities and work-at-home schemes which promise high profits after a substantial investment or registration fee are often fraudulent.

Medical frauds
Fake laboratory tests, miracle cures, and mail order clinics, etc. are other ways schemed to defraud you. Legitimate doctors and hospitals do not advertise through the mail.

The Obit Column Sting

Fast-buck artists send a surviving spouse bills for phony debts, purchases, etc. If you get an unfamiliar bill after the death of a loved one, check it out before you pay.


  • Do not rush into something involving your money or property.
  • Beware of something-for-nothing or get-rich-quick schemes.
  • Never sign a contract until you and your lawyer, banker or other expert has thoroughly read it.
  • Never turn over large sums of cash to anyone, especially a stranger, no matter how promising the deal looks.
  • Do not hesitate to check their credentials of a salesman or public official.
  • Report all suspicious offers to the police immediately, before the swindler leaves town in search of other victims.
  • Arrange for incoming checks to be sent directly to your bank.

 *Other Fraud Resources*

National Fraud Information Center
(if you have been swindled by phone)
web site

Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Fraud
Washington, DC 20580 
web site