Holiday Scam Artist Activity On The Rise

Posted at 9:58 PM, Dec 05, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-06 07:12:46-05

WEST MICHIGAN – Law enforcement in West Michigan is warning of at least three types of scams on the rise during the holiday season.

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department said a couple were duped out of $800 with the promise of getting money in return for filling out a mystery shopper survey.

The victims told police a package arrived at their Bloomingdale Township home with a check for $1,979.23 and instructions to cash the check, keep $150 and send the rest of the money to South Carolina.

Police said the couple sent a money order worth $800, all the money in their account, to the listed address.

When the couple tried to cash the check they got in the mail, however, they were told it was fake.

Police said the $800 money order was cashed by the thieves.

The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department also warns of a phone call scam.  The caller claims the recipient of the call has won a prize.

The scam artist tells the potential victim they just need a pre-paid card to start the process.  Police say the caller will try to convince people to give the card numbers over the phone.  Once they get the money they never show up with the prize.

Police say a legitimate sweepstakes will never ask for money up front.

The West Michigan Better Business Bureau warns of a different type of scam. Officials say scammers are using the well known BBB logo to spread viruses to computers.

People are getting emails about a BBB complaint against them or their business.  The email appears to come from the BBB, however the link inside the email or an attachment may contain a virus.

The BBB recommends that anyone who gets the email to forward it to and then delete the email.