Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald
By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – A Boston resident currently staying in Safford with a friend was defrauded out of $4,500 after falling victim to a phone scam.
According to a Safford Police report, the woman said a person claiming to be with the Social Security Administration called her and said there were several fraudulent bank accounts linked to the victim’s social security number and that the Boston Police Department was conducting an investigation.
After accidentally hanging up on the caller (which is exactly what law enforcement encourages people to do), the victim received another call, this time from a person who claimed to be a member of the Boston Police Department. That person told the victim that due to the fraudulent bank accounts she owed money and if she refused to pay a warrant would be issued for her arrest. While what the caller was stating was a complete lie, the woman performed an Internet check on the phone number and saw that it matched the number for the Boston Police. However, she did not call the Boston Police back, and phone scammers have the technology to have fake numbers come up on caller ID. A person could be calling from Nigeria, but the caller ID could indicate it as being a local call.
The victim then received another call from a person claiming to be from the Social Security Administration, who instructed her to have the alleged due funds sent through Target gift cards. This is a huge red flag and indicates that the call is a scam. Authorities warn never to send money to anyone who requests payment be wired or paid with a prepaid debit card, which a gift card essentially is.
The woman then drove to Tucson to obtain the Target gift cards and purchased five gift cards at $950 each for a total of $4,750. The victim said she was then instructed to take pictures of the gift cards and send them to the caller so they would have all the information on the cards.
The officer took told the woman to report the incident to her bank and provided her with an ID theft packet. The officer also took pictures of the gift cards for his investigation.
To read about the various common scams and frauds visit the United States government website on the issue by clicking here.