By Andrew Wegley
LINCOLN, Nebraska (Lincoln Journal Star) — Scammers purporting to be from the Boston Police Department — employing a phone number tied to the police force — defrauded a 72-year-old Lincoln man of more than $25,000 on Tuesday, according to police.
LPD Officer Erin Spilker said the scammers told the man that his identity, along with his wife’s, had been stolen and used to help fraudulently fund terrorist organizations.
The callers told the man he needed to send gift cards to clear the matter up, Spilker said. When he questioned the scammers, the man fielded a call from a number appearing to belong to Lincoln Police. Callers posing as LPD officers told the man the scam was legitimate, Spilker said.
After sending $11,360 in gift cards, the scammers told the man an arrest was made in the identity theft case, but that he needed to pay $16,000 in court fees, Spilker said.
The man went to Cornhusker Bank and wired $16,095 to an account in Turkey, according to police. Suspicious bank employees then tried to stop the transfer, Spilker said, but it’s unclear if that effort was successful, Spilker said.
Spilker said there was a language barrier that may have added to the 72-year-old’s vulnerability to the scam. An investigation is ongoing.
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