At the end of last week, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White issued a warning to Illinoisans about two scams that have the same goal of defrauding people of their hard-earned money and stealing their personal information.

You might be thinking that all the news lately about scam artists and their presence in the Rockford area is starting to make you a bit paranoid. As the author of "Catch-22," Joseph Heller, famously put it, “Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”

I think that's a pretty good adage to live by. Being paranoid about scammers and their traps might be just the thing that keeps you from being taken by those scammers.

I'm sure that's why Jesse White felt the need to warn all of us living within Illinois' borders about these two scams in particular.

According to the Illinois Secretary of State's website, the first scam comes in the form of a text message to your phone claiming to be from the Illinois Secretary of State. The text messages contain vague references to “Problems with your information” and another reference to “*IL* Secretary of State.” Each text also contains a link attributed to “”

Dealing with this one is pretty straightforward. Delete the text. Don't click on it, or respond in any way because doing so may release harmful malware onto your device. Jesse White also wants to make sure that you know that The Secretary of State’s office never requests personal information, like a Social Security number, via text message.

The second scam outlined in the Secretary's warning involves trying to trick you into renewing your vehicle registration for license plate stickers online. They then charge a $39.99 premium for the service, plus the cost of the renewal. One particular website has the Secretary of State's full attention:, is misleading customers with an unauthorized website promoting online license plate sticker renewals. Once the customer provides personal information, the sham company charges the customer a fee of $39.99, in addition to the sticker fee.  The Federal Trade Commission is investigating the company in an effort to shut it down over concerns of how the company may be using the personal data that it obtains from customers.

Why do I keep sharing these scam stories with you? I'd rather see you paranoid than see you get ripped off.


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