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University of Michigan School of Information


Lampe: How to prevent online scammers from stealing your information

Quoted by Voice of America. Professor of Information Cliff Lampe. Hoax dupes US city, points to evolving scam risks.

Tuesday, 04/04/2023

Newark, New Jersey is in the news after its city council signed a sister city agreement with a nonexistent island nation. 

The scam, reported by Voice of America, is a large-scale example of scammers tricking consumers. 

Though funny, University of Michigan School of Information professor Cliff Lampe says these scams are becoming more and more commonplace, and increasingly tricky to prevent. 

“The internet and the tools that come associated with it makes it easy to create false information,” Lampe says. “Someone may be able to hack an account, or create a false account, and pretend to be one of your network friends.” 

Internet users need to stay vigilant, Lampe says. 

“Another I’ve seen recently is that you will get a text message saying a particular account has been closed and you need to contact us. That’s just an interim move for a scam and they’re trying to get money from you. 

“Don’t do business over Facebook Messenger and text message. And don’t send gift cards to people you don’t know who say they have a family emergency because that’s sure to be a scam,” Lampe adds. 


Read “Hoax dupes US city, points to evolving scam risks” on Voice of America. 

Learn more about Cliff Lampe’s research on social media, technology and privacy through his UMSI faculty profile.