Warning: Phishing scam impersonates state consumer protection employees

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MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) wants residents to be aware of a phishing scam that impersonates Department employees.

A news release says these fake emails mention an “invoice” or other actionable item and contain the name or email address of a DATCP employee as the sender. If you receive a similar email, delete it immediately and DO NOT click any links contained in the message.

There are different versions of these fake emails that have been brought to DATCP’s attention by Wisconsin businesses and consumers. Some versions ask the email recipient to click a link to review a supposed invoice:

  • One version provides only the last name of a representative from DATCP as the sender with a subject line that is a number.
  • Another version that was brought to the agency’s attention by a consumer used the Consumer Protection Hotline’s email address (DATCPHotline@wisconsin.gov) as the sender’s name, but the listed sender’s email address was a random one that is not associated with the agency. The subject line mentioned an “Outstanding INVOICE.”
  • Other versions provide a DATCP employee name and reference an invoice number in the subject line. The body of the email uses the recipient’s name and contains a link to an “invoice.” The email is signed with what appears to be an actual DATCP employee email address.

If a recipient clicks a link in these emails, they may be sent to a website that seeks to harvest personal or financial information and that may trigger a malware transmission to their computer. Recipients of these emails should immediately delete them and take no further action.