A Hanford woman was scammed out of nearly $96,000 after a phone operation on Aug. 8, claiming to come from the Internal Revenue Service.
The victim was contacted by several callers over a three-week period, the Hanford Police Department reported, identifying themselves as the IRS. The unknown callers reported that she had recently won the grand prize from Publisher’s Clearing House, and that a male subject had been arrested trying to claim her winnings.
The caller continued telling the victim her money was now in limbo after his arrest and if she was able to pay the taxes they would be able to release her winnings, Detective Ryan Torney of the Hanford Police Department said.
The caller provided names and information in order to wire funds to a bank in Mexico, and was instructed to list ‘restoration’ as the reason for the wire transfer so as not to raise suspicion.
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The woman was again contacted by a ‘local police officer’ to put her hesitation at ease, after which she wired $36,000 as a first installment to reclaim her winnings.
After receiving the first payment, the victim was contacted again wanting to set up another payment to release her funds in the amount of $60,000.
Once the wiring was completed, the victim was called wanting fax information regarding the transfer immediately. Unable to provide the fax, the caller threatened the woman with a warrant from the FBI or the Hanford Police Department.
It was at this time the victim believed she was being scammed and notified the Hanford Police Department, who were fortunately able to intercept the $60,000 wire transfer.
The Hanford Police Department reminds the public that tactics like these are convincing, and that the FBI, IRS, Lottery Winnings and local police departments will not “wheel and deal” or negotiate money. Anyone demanding to be paid with Green DOT Money Packs or Pre-Paid Credit Cards is not a legitimate business or organization.
If it sounds too good to be true it most likely is, the Hanford Police Department said.