I don’t know if it’s the wacky weather or what, but lately I’ve noticed an uptick in scams going around the West Michigan area. What’s amazing to me is that it’s not just one certain type of scam that’s going around, there are various versions that range from simple to downright elaborate!

Just in the past few weeks the Michigan Attorney General has issued a consumer watch for Covid-19 test scams and the Michigan State Police warned of a new phone scam going around Branch County.  I’m wondering if I’m not the only one being spammed, are you also experiencing this?

Delaware BPO

This is the biggest phone scam that I’ve been experiencing lately and it’s got me at my wit’s end. I’ve been getting calls from “Delaware BPO” for the last six months-- and that’s even included a cross-country move!  In this scam you’ll get a call from “Lisa at Delaware BPO” who wants to help your business manage its incoming and outgoing calls. There’s two problems with that: First of all I’m not a business, I’m a person. Secondly, Delaware BPO is not a company that exists!

This is a national scam that authorities can’t seem to crack. It’s unclear what the purpose of this scam is, other than to somehow gain access to your personal information. Thanks to technology it’s been nearly impossible for me to stop these calls because they never call from the same number twice! So when I block one phone number they just call back with a new one.

Department of Transportation

I am a Millennial so I consider myself to be pretty savvy when it comes to phishing scams, but this one gave me a quick scare. I got an email from the "Department of Transportation" and it actually looked legit. It claimed I had been caught on camera running a red light on January 10, 2022 and was required to pay a fine online.

Honestly, I did not remember what I had been doing that day and for a half a second I thought maybe I called it too close on a yellow light. I also recalled a rumor that Kalamazoo had red-light cameras so I decided to do some further investigating, which included looking at the sender's email: notice@gov-co.com. That also seemed legit. However, a quick Google search led me to an article from North Carolina where this scam was also happening. That was a close call, but nice try scammers!

Jury Duty in Branch Co.

Similar to this ticket scam is the jury duty phone scam in Branch County. The calls claim you've skipped out on jury duty and are ordered to pay a fine to avoid jail time. If you receive one of these calls, the MSP asks you to please document the phone number and report the call to the FBI’s website.

Avoid Getting Scammed

Authorities remind you that though many of these scams can appear to be legitimate, most government agencies will never ask you to pay directly over the phone or online. In the instance of the traffic citation scam, you will get a number of formal warnings in the mail if it were a legitimate citation. As my grandmother would say, "Keep your wits about you!"

 

Like Ghosts from the Past, Flint Woman Finds and Photographs Old Payphones Across Michigan

Jennifer Gifford, from Flint, has recently found a unique hobby: finding and sharing photographs of payphones that are still standing in Michigan.