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Police: Combat scams with caution, common sense

By: Sherri Kolade | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published January 31, 2019

WEST BLOOMFIELD  — Some recent phone scam reports in the township highlight current scams that residents should be aware of, according to West Bloomfield Police Deputy Chief Curt Lawson. 

One such report involved a West Bloomfield woman who was contacted via phone by someone claiming to be from the Drug Enforcement Agency. The caller said the DEA had confiscated her illegal drugs and that the resident would be arrested if she didn’t post a federal bond. 

“A short time later, another subject called the resident and stated he was from the FBI and that she was going to be arrested if the federal bond was not paid,” Lawson said. “The resident, fearing of being arrested, sent $16,000 via a wire transfer. The investigation is ongoing.”

A separate incident involved a resident who received a call from someone stating that the resident had won $1 million.  

“In order to obtain the $1 million, the resident needed to send a check for $8,000. The money was not successfully delivered and was returned to the owner,” Lawson said. 

He said another resident “was contacted by a person via the phone stating that they were from a computer company and they were going to help him with errors on his computer. The subject knew it was going to be a scam, so he terminated the call.”

Lawson said residents should always be “leery” of individuals calling with news that just “seems to be good to be true.”

“Never provide personal information over the phone or via email except to individuals that you trust and who you have verified their identity. Federal and/or local law enforcement are not going to demand money wire transfers for bond for a person arrested,” he said.

Keego Harbor Police Chief John Fitzgerald  said “there is an
issue everywhere,” and the scams go beyond phone calls to emails.

“It is spread out,” he said of phishing scams. “You have to be careful who you are opening up your emails to,” he said, and he warned people to beware of email attachments. 

Residents should be careful about the information they give out on a phone call, especially when the caller starts asking personal questions.

“Most of the times, companies don’t call you and ask you for Social Security numbers and passwords,” he said. “Use extreme caution” with unexpected calls and emails, he said.