Eden Prairie police have issued a warning after two residents were duped out of a combined $46,000 by scammers recently.
The police department said one victim lost almost $34,000 and the other $12,000 after they fell prey to scammers "impersonating federal government officials."
The victim who lost $34,000 picked up her cell phone and was told she'd been the victim of ID theft and had been implicated in a drugs investigation.
The scammers told her she needed to cooperate to safeguard her assets and told her to withdraw $10,000 from her bank, and buy gift cards with them. They told her to continue making withdrawals and buy more gift cards.
She then gave the activation cards to scammers after she bought nearly $34,000-worth. She was being constantly threatened she'd end up in jail if she didn't comply.
The second victim received a call from a scammer who said that a former vehicle belonging to the victim still registered in her name was found with "bullet holes and blood inside."
"The scammer stated that in order to clear the victim’s name, the woman needed to provide payment to the government," Eden Prairie PD said. "She withdrew $12,000 from her bank and purchased gift cards whose activation codes she provided to the scammers."
By the time the victims realized their error and called the retailers they bought the gift cards from, they learned they'd already been spent.
Eden Prairie PD says the best advice is to hang up immediately, noting no government agency will contact you by phone and demand immediate payment.
"Scammers can be very persuasive and use tactics that prey on people’s fears and vulnerabilities," the department said. "They spoof caller ID numbers and names to appear legitimate and make threats that sound credible. In addition, while talking to victims on the phone, they may indicate that the victim is being followed or watched."
The department also added that the majority of scam cases don't get solves "as it is difficult to identify suspects who are not using their real names and often live outside of the U.S."