The Michigan State Police is reminding people to be on high alert for new scams circulating the area, with the newest crime targeting families dealing with the loss of a loved one.
Most scams involve getting someone's personal information under false pretenses. The scammer usually portrays a sense of urgency, pretending to be an official of a legitimate organization to trick someone into providing personal information.
In a new twist, scammers are getting information directly from online obituaries. Police say the criminals are posing as a family member of a recently deceased person, using the emotional vulnerability of the death to get money. In some cases, the scammer tells the victim they are stranded while attempting to return home for a funeral.
Investigators say one local family was recently contacted by email with the scammer assuming the identity of the deceased's husband.
Police ask everyone to remember personal information is provided in obituaries and scammers use this information to access additional details through social media and other websites. The personal information is used to convince a potential victim the request is legitimate.