After a Dallas woman provided access to her life savings through Macy’s gift cards to a man with a foreign accent, she learned the truth from the police.
It was a scam.
The man, while pretending to represent the IRS, was among a group who convinced the victim to send them her money because a warrant allegedly existed for her arrest and she was being investigated, according to media reports.
“I don’t know if it was random or why they selected her but they made their initial contact by telephone,” said Dallas Police Sergeant Warren Mitchell.
The victim did not want to be identified since her family is unaware that she lost the money.
The suspects were exposed after a package of money she had sent to Las Vegas was returned in the mail.
“They had asked her to put a large sum of cash in a shoebox between two magazines in the mail but it was returned,” Mitchell told Dallas Express. “For some reason, the address she had been given wouldn’t accept the package and they told her to get the police involved so they could find the package. When she contacted us, we knew immediately it was a scam.”
The suspects, according to Mitchell, have yet to be apprehended but the police were able to return $17,000 to the lady.
“It was the money she last sent that kept coming back and it was cash,” he said. “We were able to track it down through the mailing system because the bad guys never received it. We retrieve that money for her.”
DPD provided the following tips for citizens to avoid being scammed by fraudsters.
The IRS and other federal agencies will not call on the telephone and ask you to send money.
“They will generally send you something through the mail that has a federal seal on it,” Mitchell explained. “The federal government will never ask you to mail money to any location outside of the United States.”
No government entity will ask Dallas citizens to purchase Macy’s gift cards as a way to make payments.
“The way she was scammed is they called on numerous occasions asking her to purchase gift cards in order to make these payments and to call them back to provide the numbers on the back of the gift cards,” Mitchell said. “That’s a red flag.”
Ask a lot of questions.
“Do not immediately respond,” Mitchell advised. “Take a moment and pause before asking what agency they represent and then contact that agency yourself to find out if the caller is legitimate.”
Mitchell further advises asking for a contact number.
“Most times they’re not going to provide a legitimate phone number because they know the authorities can trace them and have a better chance of catching them,” he said.