FBI investigating after Mid-Michigan couple loses $380K to scammers

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SAGINAW (WJRT) - (09/15/17) - What does a teddy bear have to do with a most recent scam?

It's one way the crooks stole a lot of money from a Mid-Michigan family. A total of $380,000 to be exact.

”If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” said Saginaw Township Police Det. Jim MacDonald

But that rule didn't stop an elderly couple from losing the substantial sum of money. The FBI does not want to identify where the family lives in Mid-Michigan, but the couple lost their money thinking they had won a World Wide Lottery.

The caller enticed the couple to send money to pay for the U.S. taxes on the winnings. In some of the payments, the couple was told to cut open a teddy bear and stuff the money inside of it, then mail it to a certain address.

The FBI is attempting to trace where the money went, but says it’s very difficult to find the scammers.

”The first time that person sends money, they are going to keep requesting more,” said MacDonald

MacDonald is currently investigating a scam where an elderly man almost sent close to nine thousand dollars a crook, who was claiming to be from Publishers Clearing House.

”The couple was given specific instructions to put it inside a magazine, and then of course put it in a FedEx letter mailing envelope that had an address to send it,” said MacDonald

The man called police before sending the money. MacDonald agrees it can be difficult to find the con artist.

“A lot of the times the originating area from the scam is out of the country,” said MacDonald

He said scammers prey on the elderly and advised people to keep a watch over their older relatives' financial dealings.

“There is a sense of pride that they don't necessarily want to reach out to other family members to admit, hey I've been taken advantage of, I lost this amount of money, so sometimes it gets noticed too late,” said MacDonald

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