Scam Alert! Here are the Top Scams to Watch Out For in Michigan
A Michigan prosecutor lays out the most common scams he says residents need to be aware of.
Every day we seem to hear about a new scam or a new take on a scam that's been around for decades. Calhoun County Prosecutor David Gilbert recently spoke out on the ones he says his office sees the most.
Many times our elderly residents are targeted in scams. Prosecutor Gilbert says that is because 70% of our nation's wealth is held by people over 65 years old. Those scams aren't just chump change. Elder fraud is well over a $50 billion a year enterprise.
Prosecutor Gilbert many of the scammers around today will either try to get you to send money to them or get information from you or the internet to gain access to your money. Sometimes those efforts are to get you to click on something online that will allow them to install malware or spyware to gain access to your computer and steal your information or money.
Scams reported in Calhoun County:
- Travel scams: travel scams can include supposed free vacations, robocalls on vacation deals, and rental vacation home scams.
- “IRS” scam: these scams can be initiated by phone or email. These scams range from pandemic-related emails promising money after the information is filled out to calls threatening arrest for overdue taxes. The IRS says they will never initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages, or social media channels to request personal or financial information.
- “Police” Scam: this scam involves using the phone to solicit supposed donations to police agencies, often sighting a local agency. Those funds are pocketed and rarely make it to any police agency.
- I will buy your car [or other items]: whether you are selling a car online or some other big-ticket item, you have to watch out. Document everything including the would-be buyer's driver's license. Checks and money orders given as payment will sometimes bounce leaving the seller without a car or money for the item.
- “Nigerian Letter”: this scam has been around for decades finding new footholds with every technological advancement. Ths scam usually involves the promise of a big payout if you can just front a small fortune to a stranger who claims to be someone of status in Nigeria pr some other country.
- Telemarketing Fraud: calling, selling: these scams range from selling bogus goods or services to a scammer posing as a bank official to gain access to your information or bank funds.
- Cloning e-mail and Facebook Messenger: scammers pose as someone you know by creating an account under your friend's name and then asking for money for a bogus emergency.
- Cloning telephone numbers: this scam involves the copying or spoofing of a legitimate entity. Scammers will pose as a business or organization to ask for money or personal information to gain access to your money.
- Certified checks: Cashier's check scams almost always involve someone giving you a genuine-looking check or money order and asking you to either wire money to them or send them goods in returns. After you deposit or cash the check or money order and send the money, you learn that the check sent to you was fraudulent.
- Claims you are affected by data leaks: Scammers reach out to you and say your information has been compromised and ask you to click a link for more information.
- Phishing/cloning a company or otherwise: Phishing is a type of online scam that targets consumers by sending them an e-mail that appears to be from a well-known source
These are not the only scams to watch out for but are ones that have been prevalent in Michigan over the years.