Over the next few months, Trooper Michael White, Community Service Trooper from the Mt. Pleasant State Police post will share the top 10 senior scams and how to avoid them. Trooper White has been serving our community for 25 years. His goal is to share information about scams to keep you from being the next victim.
If you are a victim of a scam, please call your local dispatch center and they will send an officer to investigate your complaint.
Safety Tip of the Month...
This is an old trick but it is still being used. The victim is told they have won a sweepstakes or lottery, but they must make a payment to get their winnings. Often, seniors who fall for this trick are sent a check that initially appears to have great value. A few days later, the check bounces. During this time, the criminals will quickly collect money for supposed fees or taxes on the prize, but they take the money for themselves.
How to Avoid: Be wary, again, of what seems to be too good to be true. Remember that if you have won a sweepstakes, you shouldn’t be asked to pay mysterious and suspicious fees within a day or two of the award. If it sounds too good to be true, it is!
Scammers will place a call to an older adult, and when the victim picks up, they will say something along the lines of: “Hi Grandma, do you know who this is?” When the unsuspecting grandparent guesses the name of the grandchild the scammer most sounds like, the scammer has established a fake identity without having any background information. This opens the door for the scammer to operate.
How to Avoid: If you receive a suspicious phone call from someone claiming to be a relative or loved one, say you’ll call back, and check the story with other relatives. Note that these scammers can get information about you and your relatives off of social media sites like Facebook. Most scammers aren’t this sophisticated, but the tactic is not unheard of, so don’t be fooled if a suspicious caller references details from your life or a relatives.
CONSUMERS ENERGY WARNS AGAINST IMPOSTER PHONE SCAM
Imposters Demanding Payments via Green Dot Prepaid Card
JACKSON, Mich., Nov. 5, 2013 – Consumers Energy is warning the public about a phone scam that demands customers quickly pay for utility payments over the phone using a Green Dot prepaid credit card.
Reports of this scam have come from customers in Genesee County as well as the Grand Rapids area from callers claiming to represent Consumers Energy.
A typical scenario involves the caller, who can speak in English and Spanish, demanding payment for a Consumers Energy bill within an hour, and telling the customer to purchase a Green Dot prepaid credit card available at drug and food stores. Customers are then directed to call an 866 toll-free phone number to pay the utility bill with these cards.