Woman loses $1,300 in phone scam where caller pretends to be officer

The Lincoln Police Department is warning residents about a phone scam where the caller pretends...
The Lincoln Police Department is warning residents about a phone scam where the caller pretends to be an officer.(AP)
Published: Jan. 4, 2021 at 11:49 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Investigators with the Lincoln Police Department say a woman recently lost $1,300 in a phone scam where the caller pretended to be an officer.

LPD said Sunday afternoon, they learned a 21-year-old woman had ‘spoofed’ LPD’s non-emergency number and informed her that she had unpaid citations and that if she didn’t pay the fine, she would be arrested.

More: LPD warning of circulating scam

According to police, the scammer told the woman to purchase MoneyPak Visa Cards and give them the serial numbers over the phone, which she did.

LPD said the woman lost $1,300 in this scam.

Police said the callers are using publicly available information, such as traffic reports, to target victims.

LPD officers will never contact residents and demand they buy gift cards to avoid a warrant.

If you’re in doubt, give LPD a shout by calling (402) 441-6000 to verify an officer’s identify, a warrant, or a call for service.

Recognizing a scam

  • Scammers use technology to change the phone number that appears on your caller ID, meaning the name and number you see might not be real.
  • Scammers pretend to be from an organization you know, like your local police department, a local church or business.
  • Scammers may say you or your family member is in trouble with the IRS or the police, or that your loved one is in the hospital.
  • Scammers may say there’s a virus on your computer or cell phone. Or they may say there’s a problem or “error” on your bank account. They may also say you’ve won a large amount of money but you have to pay a fee to obtain it.
  • These scammers pressure you to act immediately. They want you to act before you have time to think or talk with a family member or speak with local law enforcement. If you’re on the phone, they might tell you not to hang up so you can’t check out their story.
  • Thieves might threaten to arrest you, sue you, take away your driver’s or business license, deport you, or terminate your employment. They might say your computer is about to be corrupted.
  • Scammers demand you pay in a specific way, often insisting you pay by sending money through a money transfer company or by putting money on a gift card and then giving them the number on the back over the phone. Some will send you a check, tell you to deposit it, and then send them money.

Avoiding a scam

  • Don’t give out personal or financial information. Legitimate organizations won’t call, email, or text to ask for your personal information, like your Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers.
  • If you get an email or text message from a company you do business with and you think it’s real, it’s still best not to click on any links. Instead, contact them using a website you know is trustworthy. Or look up their phone number. Don’t call a number they gave you or the number from your caller ID.
  • Resist the pressure to act immediately. SLOW DOWN the conversation and your decision, and don’t be afraid to simply hang up if you feel pressured to act.
  • Know how scammers tell you to pay. Never pay someone who insists you pay with a gift card or by using a money transfer service, and never deposit a check and send money back to someone.
  • Stop and talk to someone you trust. Before you do anything else, tell someone, a friend, a family member or a neighbor, what happened. Talking about it could help you realize it’s a scam.

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