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Posted on Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 6:04 p.m.

Saline woman scammed out of $1,200

By Kyle Feldscher

Scammers swindled a 27-year-old Saline woman out of more than $1,200 in February through a scam using prepaid credit cards and threats from a man posing as a Saline police “sheriff.”

According to a Saline police report, a man claiming to be an attorney contacted the woman. The man told her she owed about $350, including penalties, for a loan she took out earlier this year. He told her to buy a prepaid Visa credit card for the amount and send it to him — she complied on Feb. 15.


Courtesy photo

The woman provided the man the card number and security number on the back on that day. About an hour after doing so, the man posing as an attorney called her and demanded more money, according to the report.

The man informed her she owed $886 on a different loan, but would not elaborate.

“We’ve had people scammed numerous times,” Detective Don Lupi said Friday. “The lure of easy money is very tempting. We encourage everyone to verify the source of similar calls.”

The woman hung up on the man after he asked her for the $886, but the scam wasn’t over.

Weeks after the initial contact with the man posing as an attorney, the woman received a call from someone identifying himself as a Saline police “sheriff.” The man was calling from a number later identified as the Saline Police Department’s fax number.

The sheriff told the woman she was now facing criminal charges and had to contact a financial adviser to set up a payment plan for the $886. The only sheriff in Washtenaw County is Sheriff Jerry Clayton, the elected head of the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office.

The woman was contacted by the financial adviser on Feb. 28 and later paid him the $886, according to the report.

On March 1, the same adviser called her and informed her the payment had to be notarized, asking for an additional $700. At this point, the woman hung up on the adviser and went to the bank where she took out her loan earlier this year.

When she spoke with a manager, the woman was told her loan was for just $100 and she did not owe any outstanding fees. In addition, no one from the bank had contacted her. At this point, she called the Saline Police Department.

Lupi said the scammers used an Internet website to pick a phone number to call the woman, leading her to get the call from the Saline police.

“There are applications available and it’s free to do it online, so people should be suspicious of calls asking for money, regardless of the number on caller ID,” he said. “We are here 24/7, call or stop in at the police station for us to verify any possible scam.”

Lupi said this is a scam that’s been run throughout the country, but this is the first time it’s been used in Saline.

There are no suspects in the case. Anyone with information on this scam or a similar incident should call Lupi at 734-429-7911 or email him at

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.


Huron 74

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 7:40 p.m.

I never answer my phone if I don't recognize the number. Pretty simple concept.

ms 2013

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 5:47 p.m.

gotta be smart


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 5:29 p.m.

As you know financial scams are a common occurrence. This is just one victim you are reading about, but there are many that go unreported. You would be surprised by the number of people that you know or your neighbors that allow themselves to be in these situations. Our society, in general, is very ignorant when it comes to finances. People still owe large balances on their credit cards, they don't balance the check books (let alone keep a register), and we have folks in Washington who are bankrupting us. It's sad at all levels.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 5:28 p.m.

If someone calls you claiming to be from a bank, law enforcement agency, or whatever: politely take their information, then tell them you're going to look their organization up on Google and call them back through their published number. If they get threatening, they're a scammer. Real banks (and even police) will understand.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 4:49 p.m.

I think it's incredibly sad that someone in this relatively progressive area, in today's world, could reach the age of 27 and not be aware that no bank would EVER tell someone to buy a prepaid Visa card to settle a late or missed payment situation, and no bank would ever force someone to a financial planner. I just can't believe that. I can see where the Saline PD number might, at least at first glance, lend some credibility to the situation, but according to the article that didn't come into the picture until money had already been sent. It's sad.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 4:13 p.m.

You don't have to be old to be scammed!

Tim Hornton

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 3:13 p.m.

People that continue to scam the poor out of money should be put in wood chipper... After they are forced through hard labor to pay restitution. Its harsh but the crime would be reduced.

Pretty Gritty

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 3:12 p.m.

a fool and their money...


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 4:43 p.m.

I know I bored my children with "If it sounds too good . . ." Some listened, some had to learn the hard way, but they did learn.

music to my ear

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 3:58 p.m.

yes Tim , I always thought that would benefit our public. what erks me is how these kids spend all their time on video games and texing, while kids in foreign countries (who actually originated these favorite pastimes ) are studying and getting ahead, we are not pushing our youth enough to be all they can be, we the adults are letting them just get my point is its no wonder we are not the smartest nation. and I am a natural born citizen should anyone ask. I feel we are getting behind.

Tim Hornton

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 3:15 p.m.

Good point. Wish these wise parables were taught in schools. They seem to teach everything but common sense wisdom in high schools and college.

music to my ear

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 3:09 p.m.

as a former western union agent ,I was trained to recognize a scam in progress and I would warn the customer this is not right I smell a scam, the majority would want to proceed with the transaction.I have been doing money orders for a guy older who has thrown away thousands on fake sweepstakes, they just dont listen finally I had to contact his daughter and she intervene


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 3:07 p.m.

dancinginmysoul ..... I'm with you. How in the world could she not know how much money she owed, IF any at all? When will people learn that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, AND if it sounds fishy or not right, it probably is. Never give out financial information if you don't initiate the call. And if you are solicited for money, even from legitimate organizations, insist on receiving a paper "request" in the mail that can be verified.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 2:16 p.m.

I'm sorry, but this story just doesn't make any sense. How could she not know how much money she borrowed; especially if it was a loan taken about two months ago? Why would a bank underwrite a loan for $100? Why would she borrow $100 if she can generate $1200 in less then a month? Why wouldn't she call the bank immediately after receiving the calls? I'm probably being harsh, but it's somewhat odd.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 4:52 p.m.

Music, the victim is reported to be 27...hardly a "kid." Perhaps there is some other mitigating circumstance involving the victim...some special need-type situation that's not been reported. Dancinginmysoul, I don't think your questions are at all harsh. The story raises many unanswered questions.

music to my ear

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

you know these kids they dont stop to think everything is fast, go go, and googled


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

The article does correctly point out that what you see on your caller ID can be *anything*. OK for screening your calls but that's about it.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

Always remember, half of the population is of below average intelligence.

bill s

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 4:17 p.m.

Chris, I believe you're referring to Obama voters.

Huron 74

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 7:39 p.m.

Yup, 50% dummies. Your post cracked me up, yet so true!


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 1:52 p.m.

Words to live by, Chris.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 4:07 a.m.

A Saline Police Sheriff. OMG, my kids wouldn't even fall for that, well I hope they wouldn't.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 2:19 a.m.

"The lure of easy money is very tempting." Huh.....where were the "victims" in these cases "lured by easy money?" It looks like they were simply told they owed money...believed it and complied...


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 1:10 a.m.

Since the Saline police are there 24/7, would it be too much trouble to keep a closer eye on who's using their telephones?


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

It is not that hard to fake your caller ID. Ever get sales calls from "0000000000"?


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 1:08 p.m.

if you really do read the end of the article it will explain that there are web sites for what gp is trying to clarify but who knows maybe hes developed computer programs that perform similarly.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 1:52 a.m.

No one used the Saline Police phones. If you read the end of the article, it explains there are computer programs that make it look like the call is coming from the police.

Martha Cojelona Gratis

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 12:15 a.m.

Too much money to lose. I'm sorry.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 11:19 p.m.

Never, ever, ever do anything someone tells you to do over the phone!!