By Bria Brown

TUSCOLA COUNTY, Mich. (WNEM) — State police are urging residents to be vigilant of scams after a woman was tricked out of thousands of dollars believing that she won a much bigger prize.

On Jan. 21 at 7:20 p.m. troopers were sent to a residence in Tuscola County’s Arbela Township for a phone scam complaint.

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From the investigation, troopers learned the victim, a 67-year-old woman, mailed $76,000 through various means to unknown individuals at an address in New York.

Troopers learned the victim was contacted initially in December and was told she won billions of dollars and needed to pay different fees to get her winnings.

Michigan State Police said the victim made many cash and electronic payments to the scammers after taking out loans and money from her life savings.

With tax season quickly approaching, state police are urging residents not to fall for phone scams and fraud as they are becoming more prevalent and target the elderly.

Troopers noted that scammers have been using more aggressive techniques and new tactics to scam people, including promises for large lottery winnings, threats to harm other family members, offers for intimate relationships, and even claims that family members have been arrested or jailed in another country.

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The Michigan State Police Caro Post is warning residents that legitimate law enforcement agencies would never solicit money over the phone.

MSP also said gift cards and wire transfer payments are always a sign of a scam.

If you believe you or a family member have been the victim of a scam, you’re urged to call 911 and report it to the appropriate law enforcement departments.

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