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Troy police say calls demanding money or gift cards for police are scams

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published February 12, 2020

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TROY — Troy police want to alert everyone about scammers posing as police or FBI agents calling Troy residents and demanding gift cards and threatening jail unless victims comply.

Sgt. Meghan Lehman reported on the Troy Police Department Facebook page that in two recent incidents, scammers convincingly posed as an FBI employee and a Royal Oak police detective.

The victims were duped because the caller ID showed numbers from the real agencies, Lehman said in the post.

“If you ever receive a call like this, we recommend hanging up and calling the actual listed number for the agency back,” Lehman said.

In one incident, police said, a Troy woman received a call from someone who said he was FBI Officer Michael Brown.

She told police the caller ID showed a Troy Police Department phone number. The suspect reportedly told the resident to go to two Target stores, get $1,360 in gift cards and give him the numbers or she would go to jail. She complied.

In the second incident, a Troy woman told police she received a call from someone claiming to be a detective with the Royal Oak Police Department.

Police said the scammer told the woman that because she had not shown up for a court case, she would go to jail on an outstanding warrant unless she paid $7,200 via prepaid cash gift cards.

She reportedly did so, and she also gave photos of her Social Security card and other documents, as requested.

Lehman said the caller ID showed the Royal Oak Police Department’s actual phone number, but a scammer was spoofing the number.

“The victim had no such warrant or even ever had contact with Royal Oak PD,” Lehman said. “These scammers can be very convincing and sound official. While in hindsight it may be easy to blame the victims, please keep in mind that these ruthless scammers are very successful at targeting people from all walks of life and age groups.”