Just How Low Will Crooks Go? New Phone Scam Hits Michigan
Every time I read one of these scam stories, it makes my blood boil. How pathetic a person are you to take advantage of someone vulnerable?
There's nothing new in this latest warning sent out by the Michigan State Police. This specific scam targets grandparents, and has happened in the Sault, in Grand Rapids, and here, in Van Buren County. It just serves as a reminder to stay vigilant and if you have have elderly relatives or neighbors, make sure to reinforce the message to be extra-careful, and sad to say, trust no one, especially on the phone.
Last week a Van Buren couple received a phone call from someone who they believed to be their granddaughter. This person, who was later determined to be someone impersonating their granddaughter, advised them she had been arrested following a traffic accident. The female impersonator indicated they needed to contact her friend’s father who is a lawyer. The couple complied and contacted this so-called lawyer who, in-turn, advised them their granddaughter was in serious trouble and they would need $12,000 to bail her out. After agreeing to pay the said amount of bail in cash, the lawyer stated he would send a courier to their house to pick up the money. - Michigan State Police Paw Paw Post release.
This is not one lone criminal. This is a coordinated effort amongst several crooks. And this particular story could've been worse. "The next day the so-called lawyer called the couple back and stated there was an issue and now they would need to pay an additional $14,000 to help their granddaughter but this attempt was thwarted once their actual granddaughter stopped by their house and explained to them they had been scammed," according to MSP.
The lesson here is always be skeptical, even if it might sound legit. The state police suggest call them to just ask what's going on, especially since there is money involved.
The rest of the advice - you wonder how realistic it is to expect a vulnerable person to record information, but at least question and be skeptical.
And this ties into these latest scams; if you "receive phone calls, emails or some other form of communication in which the caller is claiming they are from the Treasury Department and/or who is offering COVID stimulus payments or some form of a grant in exchange for your personal information or they require you to purchase gift cards to obtain money, consider this a scam and hang up and report it" to the FBI, the State Police or local police.