The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is aware of at least two phishing scams circulating on local cell phones and email inboxes and warns residents about what to look for.

Phishing (pronounced “fishing”) is a type of online identity theft where con artists send emails or text messages that appear to come from institutions you trust, like your bank or credit card company. The message includes links to fraudulent sites asking questions designed to steal your personal data, account information or passwords. Criminals then use this information to commit fraud, steal money from your account, open new accounts in your name or obtain official documents using your identity.

One recent email and text message appears to come from Comcast XFINITY and includes a link to a form that requests the recipient to provide financial information and other identifiers that should remain private.

Another is a scam email appears to come from the American Institute of CPAs and claims the recipient is somehow involved in unlawful income tax refund activity. The AICPA has issued this warning advisory.

Do not open suspicious emails or respond to such texts. Never click on the links they contain or reply to the message. To confirm the authenticity of an email or text message check with that institution directly. Most will explain they would never solicit social security numbers or account information by email.

You can also report such scams to your Internet service provider or cell phone company. Check their web site for preferred reporting methods.