Lincoln woman loses $149,000 in DEA phone scam
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The Lincoln Police Department is warning the community about a phone scam in which a Lincoln woman lost $149,000.
On Tuesday, investigators made contact with a 68-year-old woman at the LPD Northwest Team Station, who was reporting a fraud.
LPD said the woman explained that on July 11th she received a phone call from a stranger saying there had been an unauthorized purchase of a laptop on her Amazon account. Investigators said she was then directed to follow messaging prompts and was eventually transferred to someone who identified himself as a DEA agent.
The woman explained she was told several credit cards and bank accounts had been opened in her name across several states.
The woman was told to withdraw as much money as she could from her bank which would be placed in a different account to verify it wasn’t laundered, according to police, where she then withdrew $25,000.
LPD said the next day she was again contacted by the ‘DEA agent’ who told her she needed to withdraw more money. Police said the woman then withdrew $5,000.
She was directed to place the money in bags outside of her home and an agent would pick them up, then provide her with a cashier’s check, according to police.
Investigators said the money was ultimately retrieved however no cashier’s check was left.
The following day the woman was again contacted and instructed to purchase $120,000 in gold, police explained, and she ultimately purchased $119,294.84 worth of gold.
LPD said two days later the woman received instructions to place the gold outside of her home and an agent would pick it up shortly.
Approximately an hour after placing the gold outside her home, police said the woman noticed it was gone and she became suspicious and contacted police.
Investigators said the total loss is $149,294.84.
Avoid Getting Scammed
Recently, the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office started the “Consumer Affair Response Team” or CART for short. The program is designed to assist Nebraskans in addressing scam complaints by providing fraud and identity theft education and dispute resolution.
In instances where protecting an elderly loved one is involved, a caretaker can set up a protection system by talking to their loved one and a lawyer. For more information about this program you can head to their website here.
Law enforcement said scammers are convincing and use tactics that can seem legitimate. If you feel unsure, it’s always okay to hang up, take a second look at information received and reach out to someone you trust, including your bank.
You can also reduce the number of unsolicited calls by registering your phone number with the National Do-Not-Call registry at 1-888-382-1222 or Donotcall.gov.
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