Traverse City Police Investigating Rise in Fraud Complaints

Phishing, telemarketing, mass marketing are all common forms of scams.

The Traverse City Police Department is currently investigating two complaints of fraud made on Monday.

A 72 year-old Traverse City man lost $13,000 after falling for real estate scams and now claims his bank isn’t helping him.

“Typically these complaints are reported to us by elderly and vulnerable adults,” said Sergeant Adam Gray with TCPD. “A lot of times, for the fraud complaints that were reported to us yesterday, you can check through the Better Business Bureau and make sure that the realtor companies or other types of mortgage companies, are in fact legitimate and they should be listed on the website.”

TCPD says over the past year, they’ve received over 72 fraud complaints.

“A lot of common fraud complaints that we get, they’ll get a phone call saying that their relative is in jail and they need money in order to get their relative out of jail. Typically, someone calls claiming to be the IRS and says that the individual owes back taxes and is requesting a certain amount of money,” said Gray.

However, sometimes fraudulent charges can be made to your account out of nothing more than bad luck.

After the storms this past weekend, several businesses experienced unexpected issues with their card readers and online data systems.

Karen Hartel of Traverse City was charged 10 times for groceries she purchased online through curbside pickup with Meijer, equaling more than $1,180.

“I’m a single mom, I have a special-needs son, I have two jobs, I work here at [Traverse City West Middle School] and I work for Uber and Lyft, just to make ends meet and they have all my money tied up, I can’t access any money,” said Hartel.

Meijer released an apology to customers, explaining that they are actively working to solve these issues.

“The day after you make your purchase, I would definitely check your account, make sure this doesn’t happen again,” said Hartel.

TCPD says if you believe you’ve been scammed, to collect: credit card statements, receipts, copies of emails and screenshots of suspicious transactions.

For more assistance in your area, you can contact the Traverse City Police Department or Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Office.