Saline woman scammed out of $1,200
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.