Identifying Scams

Knowing how to identify scams can save you from falling for criminals’ schemes.  Scams come in many forms and criminals adapt their tactics frequently.  However, most cons have common traits.  Being able to identify potential scams can help you safeguard your personal and financial information from being stolen.  Please visit the FTC’s Scam Alerts page to keep updated on current threats.

Additional tips:

  1. Do not donate to charities that contact you out of the blue.  This is especially true if they insist you must make a decision immediately or refuse to give you detailed information about the charity’s mission and how your donation will be used.  Always do research to ensure you are giving to a reputable organization that will use the money as promised.  You can double check charities with resources like Charity Navigator or the Better Business Bureau’s

  2. If you receive a robocall (phone calls with a recorded sales message instead of a live person) from a company which you have not given written permission to call you, hang up the phone immediately.  Do not press “1” to speak to a live operator, and don’t press any other number to get off their calling list.  That could just lead to more robocalls.  The FTC encourages you to report your experience to them online or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

  3. Be wary of email or text messages from unexpected senders or with content you were not expecting.  Be especially cautious of links or attachments within these messages.  Clicking on them may actually install software that contains malicious code (“malware”) or collects personal information.

  4. Also, please be aware that criminals can send emails which appear to be from your financial institution, a store you frequent, and other entities that you trust.  However, clicking on anything within the email can also download malicious software onto your computer or redirect you to a spoof site where you are encouraged to provide the criminals with your personal or financial information.  You can avoid these tactics by typing the company’s official URL into the address bar of your browser rather than following a link from an email.

  5. Be cautious when browsing the internet.  Some online actions can put your computer at risk like clicking on pop-up messages or downloading things like free software programs, customized toolbars, or games.  Each of these can be a vehicle for criminals to install malware without your informed consent.  Only download free software from sites you know and trust.

  6. If your computer shows signs of malware, stop performing any online activity that involves sensitive information like usernames, passwords, or other personal information until the problem has been fixed.
If you are an SMBT customer and you suspect your financial information has been compromised, please contact us immediately at 800.379.7628 so we may assist you.

Here are some fast tips for reporting identity theft and financial fraud:

  • If you believe you are the victim of fraud or a money laundering scam, please contact your local law enforcement authorities.
  • If you believe you are the victim of identity theft, you will find numerous resources on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) website at You can also report identity theft to the FTC.
  • If you believe you have been the victim of an internet crime or scam, such as phishing, re-shipping, etc., please visit the Internet Crime Complaint Center at This is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center. You can also find information on phishing scams, including how to report a suspected phishing attempt, at the Department of Justice’s website at
  • If you believe that your credit card number has been stolen or that your credit card has been fraudulently charged, please call the issuer of your credit card.  If you are a Southern Michigan Bank and Trust card holder and need to report a lost or stolen ATM or Debit Mastercard® please call toll free: 866-546-8273.
Click on the links below for more helpful tips and prevention training:

Time Sensitive Fraud Information: