Phone scam claims another Lincoln victim

By: Megan Conway

A phone scam has claimed 10 victims in the last six months in Lincoln. The most recent was yesterday. All of the callers are claiming to be working for the IRS.

A Lincoln woman, received a phone call Wednesday. The caller ID said it was from the IRS and that his name was ‘Danny.’ The victim was told there was a problem with her taxes, that she owed almost 6,000 dollars and she needed to pay a portion or be arrested. 

“The caller gave her specific instructions to go to the store to purchase Moneypak cards, then relay the number to him over the phone,” says Ofc. Katie Flood, Lincoln Police Department.

The scammer also said this was the only chance the victim had to pay, and that she had to stay on the phone with him. The victim made stops at Walgreens, CVS and finally Casey’s, where the manager, Mary Ekstrom had just taken a call from a man with a thick accent asking if they had Moneypak cards. When the woman came in to purchase the cards, her scared and worried actions made Mary think something wasn’t right.

“I had a feeling that something was going down, just by the way she was acting and those phone calls I got,” says Ekstrom.

Mary followed the woman to her van, convinced her that she was being scammed, and to hang up the phone. So far, the woman had only relayed 2,000 dollars to the scammer. By stopping the victim, Mary saved her almost 4,000 dollars.

“It makes my heart feel good that I did help her save some money. I just hope everybody else just watches out, that’s all I care about and make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else,” says Ekstrom.

LPD determined that the call was either from Iran or Pakistan. Police did try to cancel the cards, but were not able to. Unfortunately, there is no way to get the money back.

“It’s next to impossible to prosecute these individuals, at least here in America,” says Flood.

The Moneypak website advises to never give out the number of your card. Also, never use the cards to pay taxes or claim winnings, like the lottery.

This is not just a scam hitting the elderly. Police say people as  young as 30 have also fallen victim.