The 10 most common scams in Michigan (and how to prevent them)

By Karel Vega

March 19, 2024

More and more Michiganders are getting scammed out of thousands of dollars each year.

A recent study found that identity theft was the most common type of scam in Michigan last year. It also found that Michigan is the 32nd most defrauded state in the US, based on how much money was lost to scammers in 2023 relative to the state’s population—$151,679,000.

The study was conducted by QR code generator company QRFY, which analyzed data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). 

Here are the top ten most common scams in Michigan, based on 52,036 reports made to the FTC in 2023:

  1. Identity theft – 23,621 reports
  2. Imposter scams – 17,466 reports
  3. Credit Bureaus, information furnishers, and report users – 16,865 reports
  4. Online shopping and negative reviews – 7,978 reports
  5. Banks and lenders – 6,065 reports
  6. Prizes, sweepstakes, and lotteries – 4,549 reports
  7. Auto related – 3,743 reports
  8. Debt collection – 3,413 reports
  9. Internet services – 3,081 reports
  10. Telephone and mobile services – 2,782 reports

Although scams are on the rise, the Michigan Attorney General’s office does have some tips to look out for.

It may be a scam if you are:

  • Contacted out of the blue with an urgent request. 
  • Pressured to act or respond immediately. Offered something that sounds suspicious.
  • Urged to keep the call secret.
  • Asked to provide personal or financial information.
  • Requested or demanded to.
  • Asked for money.
  • Asked for payment in an unusual form.
  • Told to go to your financial institution to withdraw money and instructed to put your phone in your pocket while they remain on the line. They may also instruct you on what to say to the staff at your financial institution.
  • Told you have won or inherited a large sum of money, then instructed to pay an up-front fee to collect on the windfall. They claim the fee is to cover the cost of processing or shipping or to pay taxes on the winnings.
  • Given vague information regarding the purpose of the call and/or caller is reluctant to answer questions about the business or their offer. Threatened if you don’t comply.
  • Promised something too good to be true.

In a press release earlier this month Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel gave some tips on what to do if you are contacted by imposters:

  • Blocking the text, email, or calls;
  • Not clicking links or opening attachments;
  • Reporting the text or email as spam; and
  • Deleting the text or email from their device.

“I encourage everyone to ‘Slam the Scam’ and hang up if you think you are on the phone with a scam caller,” Nessel said in the press release. “My department has resources online that everyone should avail themselves to so that they can identify a scam before they become a victim.”

The Michigan Attorney General’s office has multiple resources for Michiganders who believe they’ve been the victim of a scam. To see what help you can get, visit: https://www.michigan.gov/consumerprotection/scams

Author

  • Karel Vega

    Coming from a long background in public radio, Karel Vega strives to find stories that inform and inspire local communities. Before joining The ‘Gander, Karel served as managing editor at WKAR, the NPR affiliate in East Lansing, Michigan.

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