LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is warning residents of scammers posing as law enforcement agencies or other companies, demanding payment for warrants or services via gift cards.
According to the AG’s Office, illegal robocalls have been reported about people “spoofing -- falsifying the phone number that appears on your caller ID -- local law enforcement phone numbers, and when answered, they may claim the victim’s name is on a package of drugs and money and/or there is a warrant out for their arrest.
Officials said scammers are telling people to wire money and/or purchase gift cards, instructing them to then provide the gift card numbers over the phone.
“My office is committed to our consumer protection work because we recognize that bad actors will truly stop at nothing to swindle anyone out of their personal information and hard earned money,” Nessel said. “Make sure to be aware that no law enforcement agency will ever contact you by phone demanding that you pay, regardless of payment method, for your warrant to disappear. Spoofing allows scammers to disguise their actual phone numbers and instead show a local phone number on the caller ID. If you receive one of these calls, hang up immediately. Do not fall for it.”
Officials said while this type of scam is not new to the public, it has surfaced in counties including Calhoun, Kent and Oakland. The scammers posed as members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, deputies, and even chief of police.
“The framework of these scams – whether it’s a law enforcement, grandparent, or tech support scam – are always the same. The demands are urgent, they prey on fear, and they always insist on an untraceable payment method,” Nessel said. “The fact is, anyone who demands payment by gift card is a scammer, period. No reputable company or government agency will ever demand payment via gift card.”
Click here for more information on robocalls.
The AG’s Office advised that if you believe you are the target of a scam, but want to be sure, hang up the phone immediately and independently verify the identity of the caller. Call the phone number you know to be correct and never give out any personal information to someone who initiates a phone call.
To report fraud or if you have a general consumer complaint, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Team online or by calling 877-765-8388.