Often scammers visit websites such as match.com and develop a strong relationship with their victim before moving in, said Traverse City Detective Derek Sutherin.
A Suttons Bay woman, single and lonely, sought out friendship on an Internet chat room.
A gentleman she
"met" seemed like an interesting guy, writing about a bridge he
was building in Africa.
As their relationship bloomed, they talked about marriage and money.
Out of kindness, he
five or six money orders from Wal-Mart
told her she
could cash them and then wire back a fraction of the check amount to him in Africa.
But when the woman tried to open checking accounts in Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties with the money orders, she
was stunned to find out they were fraudulent.
In fact, Sutherin
holds monthly meetings with area bank representatives, the FBI and Secret Service
to discuss the most current frauds.
also makes sure that frauds are publicized in the newspaper and television.
But no matter how much this issue is in the news, there always seems to be people who fall victim to obvious scams, he
They start by looking in your mailbox to learn where you bank, Sutherin
"They might call you and say, 'This is so and so with Fifth Third Bank, and I'm calling to notify you that there's an issue with your account.
First, I'll need to verify your account information, and then ask you for your account information,'" Sutherin