Scammer tries to trick Canton woman using the police department's phone number

CANTON, Mich. (WXYZ) - We want to tell you about a fake cop scam that nearly cost a local woman thousands of dollars.

This one is so real you could get fooled by this clever crook.

It all starts out with you being told you owe some money because you owe on your taxes, but then comes the threat.

Mira Al-Mahayni says that is what saved her from getting scammed out of more than $2,000 last Tuesday. That's when she got a call from a man claiming to be a lawyer representing the IRS.

“He says, ‘Well, I’m calling from crime investigation department and we did an audit on your taxes, and it turns out that you have defaulted on your taxes,’” Al-Mayani says. “And he said, ‘Well, we’ve done an audit for the past five years, from 2007 to 2013, and it turns out you owe the government money.’”

But this Canton mother of two says something was off, so she started taking notes and asking more questions.

“And he says, ‘Well, if you don't pay this money off, a police officer will be at your door within the next 30-40 minutes to arrest you,’” she says. “And I said ‘To arrest me? How do I know this is not a scam?’ He said ‘I will have your Canton Police deputy call you up and you'll see that the number is local coming from your city.”

She said the man even said it will be Canton Deputy Police Chief Scott Hilden who would be calling.

Al-Mahayni used her other phone to call Canton Police herself and told the dispatcher she thought she was being scammed. And then?

“My phone home phone rings, and I look at my caller ID and on the caller ID it displays the actual Canton Police Department number that I had just dialed, right now, on my cell phone” Al-Mahayni says.

The man on the other line claimed to be the Deputy Chief Hilden. But when the dispatcher heard his voice on speaker phone, Al-Mahayni’s suspicions were confirmed.

“As soon as she heard his voice, she said, ‘This is not the voice of Scott Hilden. You are not Scott Hilden,’” Al-Mahayni says. “As soon as he heard that he hung up.”

And just like that, that scammer went away.

So now the real cops at the Canton Police Department are trying to get to the bottom of this. They really want to figure out how this scammer was able to get the Canton Police Department's phone number to show up on caller ID.

Certainly a lot of tricks out there, but this is one they haven't heard of lately in Canton.

Al-Mahayni really wants to thank the dispatcher for working with her over the phone and confirming her suspicions. Al-Mahayni also says she's glad she kept asking questions and trusted her intuition.

"You don't just accept what people are telling you. You keep asking questions," she says.

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