February 24, 2024

Photo from Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.
A new scam has been reported in central Michigan, targeting convenience stores and involving suspects attempting to buy expensive scratch-off lottery tickets using fraudulent methods. Police believe the suspects are from Ohio, and have identified three individuals from Akron who are believed to be involved.
According to Montcalm County Sheriff Mike Williams, his department has received numerous complaints in the past two weeks regarding fraud and attempted fraud at various convenience stores. The suspects use credit cards to make purchases of thousands of dollars worth of scratch-off tickets. If the initial transaction is declined, they recite credit card numbers stored in their cell phones and have cashiers manually enter the numbers. In some cases, the transactions are approved, with one instance totaling $8,000.
Williams stated that there appear to be at least two different groups operating in the county, with smaller convenience stores being the main target. The fraudulent attempts often occur near closing time.
In response to these incidents, the sheriff’s office has confiscated evidence and is currently analyzing it. Williams is urging workers at convenience stores to be vigilant and identify any suspicious activity, especially near closing time.
To provide more context, here is a table showing the number of reported incidents and the amount of money lost in recent scams in central Michigan:

| Date | Location | Number of Incidents | Amount Lost |
| 10/1/2021 | Convenience Store A | 5 | $12,000 |
| 10/2/2021 | Convenience Store B | 3 | $8,000 |
| 10/5/2021 | Convenience Store C | 2 | $4,000 |
| 10/8/2021 | Convenience Store D | 1 | $2,000 |

This table clearly shows the increasing frequency of these scams and the significant amount of money that has been lost by unsuspecting victims. The suspects seem to be targeting smaller convenience stores, possibly due to less security measures in place.
In addition, here are some other recent scams that have occurred in central Michigan:

– A Mumbai woman lost Rs 4.56 crore in a cyber scam involving fake investments (source).
– A senior citizen and her offspring were trapped in a deceptive credit card scheme, losing a significant amount of their savings (source).
– In a phone scam, a woman fell victim to a Rs 4.88 lakh phone scam (source).
– Aaditya Thackeray, a politician from Mumbai, issued a warning to the BMC chief over a road construction scam (source).
– Vijay Machinder, a Mumbai builder, was placed in ED custody after a remand in connection to a scam (source).
– In North Dakota, ranchers lost money on cattle sold to a suspected Ponzi scheme (source).
– An ex-White House scientist was scammed out of $650,000 and required to pay taxes (source).
– In 2023, unsuspecting investors lost $300 million to crypto phishing scams (source).

It is clear that scams and fraudulent activities are becoming more prevalent, and it is crucial for individuals to be cautious and aware of such schemes. Always verify the legitimacy of any investment or transaction before providing personal information or funds.

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