Man loses $30,000 after scammers spoof Michigan State Police number

Scammers who spoofed the Michigan State Police Houghton Lake Post phone number stole $30,000 from a man in Roscommon County. (MGN Image)
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ROSCOMMON COUNTY (WJRT) (1/29/2020) - A man from Roscommon County lost $30,000 to scammers who convinced him they were calling from the Michigan State Police Houghton Lake Post.

Investigators say a woman called the man on Saturday claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. She claimed someone had used the man's name and Social Security number to lease a car in Texas.

A man claiming to be a federal Drug Enforcement Agency agent then joined the call and demanded the victim send money to avoid jail.

The victim recognized the call as a scam and hung up.

However, the victim received another call from someone claiming to be Officer Garcia of the "Houghton Lake State Police." This caller told the victim he would be arrested if he didn't cooperate with the DEA agent.

The caller ID number on the second call appeared to be from the Michigan State Police Houghton Lake Post. The victim took this call seriously and purchased $10,000 worth of gift cards as the scammers instructed.

On Monday, the scammers called back and ordered the victim to send $20,000 in cash to an address in Denton, Texas, via FedEx. The victim sent the money as instructed.

On Tuesday, the scammers called again and ordered the victim to send another $20,000 to a different address in Denton, Texas, via UPS. The victim again sent the money as instructed.

Scammers called a second time on Tuesday evening and told the victim to transfer $20,000 from his IRA account to them. The victim went to his bank Wednesday morning to make the transfer, but a manager there informed him this was likely a scam and he should call police.

The victim then reported the scam to Michigan State Police, who launched an investigation.

Troopers were able to stop UPS from delivering the second shipment of $20,000, so it was returned to the victim. However, the $10,000 worth of gift cards and the first $20,000 shipment of cash could not be retrieved.

Investigators reached out to law enforcement in Denton, Texas, to investigate the two addresses where the money was shipped. That part of the investigation was continuing Wednesday.

Michigan State Police caution residents that no law enforcement agency will demand immediate payment over the phone to avoid arrest.