February 8, 2023

TRAVERSE CITY — Scams are back in a new form.

Last week, two women were scammed out of $53,100 on separate occasions in Grand Traverse County, according to sheriff’s Lt. Brandon Brinks.

“They’re always changing,” he said. “There’s no question that it’s a scam.”

The first incident happened Jan. 17 when a sheriff’s deputy was taking his break at a gas station with a Bitcoin kiosk at the intersection of Cass and South Airport roads.

A gas station employee asked the deputy to check on a woman feeding large sums of money into the kiosk. This situation has become more common in recent months, the employee said.

The deputy realized when speaking to the 57-year-old Garfield Township woman that she was on the phone with the alleged scammer. According to police reports, the scammer was telling the woman how to deposit $4,500 into the Bitcoin machine so it could be transferred to them.

The woman handed the phone to the deputy, and the scammer hung up once they realized they were talking to a member of law enforcement. She thought that the scammer was a representative from the PayPal fraud department.

She received an email earlier that day to call them immediately because there was too much money in her account, Brinks said.

“They play on fear, urgency and the sensation that you just can’t hang…

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