EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Earlier this summer, an East Grand Rapids woman lost $15,000 in a phone scam.

It’s evidence of how sophisticated and convincing these phone scams can be, according to Sgt. Mark Lindner, a detective with the East Grand Rapids Department of Public Safety.

“The suspects try to confuse people, try to get them worried, scared,” he said.

In this case, the callers said they were with the U.S. Marshals Service and Federal Trade Commission, Lindner said. They told the victim, a 59-year-old woman, that her identity had been compromised and criminals were using it to launder money and drugs.

“They said she was still a suspect in some of these crimes, and she needed to protect her money,” Lindner explained.

The woman could do that, the scammers claimed, by wiring money to a treasury fund.

“She did not want to do that,” Lindner said. “She said no to the wire.”

When the woman told the callers she wanted to check with the Grand Rapids Police Department, she got another call minutes later — supposedly from a Grand Rapids deputy police chief.

“I’m assuming what they did is they literally just went on the internet, looked up Grand Rapids police, found a police administrator’s name and then called her back, claiming to be that person,” Lindner told News 8.

Ultimately, the victim was convinced. She deposited $15,000 through a Bitcoin ATM inside a gas station located at Hall Street and Division Street, using a Bitcoin ATM code the scammers had given her.

“(The money) was lost completely,” Lindner said.

Despite trying to track the May 30 deposit and phone call, East Grand Rapids police have been unable to identify suspects.

“These are evil people,” Lindner said.

What police can do is repeat the warning.

“No police officer, no one who is a legitimate federal agent is going to call you and ask for money,” Lindner said. “It’s just not going to happen.”