She sent US$32,000 to scammers who claimed to be from the IRS. Here’s how the scam worked


Text messages on the woman's phone showed the scam began May 1. — Dreamstime/TNS

A Gig Harbor police officer met with a woman in her 80s on May 11 who said she got scammed.

When the officer arrived in the lobby of Heron's Key, the woman told him she hoped the scammers would call while he was there.

They did.

The caller ID appeared to be from the nearby hospital, according to the police report.

The officer took the phone and advised the suspect he was talking with police. The officer questioned the suspect, who refused to answer any questions and eventually hung up.

"I could hear him consulting another in the background before he hung up," the officer wrote.

Text messages on the woman's phone showed the scam began May 1.

"She had been contacted by numerous males and females, some providing fake IRS documents stating she owed money," the police report said.

The woman went and bought gift cards, then sent the gift cards and a cashier's check via mail.

On May 8 she sent a US$32,000 personal check via UPS to someone in Pueblo West, Colorado.

It appears the check was cashed at an unknown location.

She also sent a cashier's check for US$28,000 to someone in Kiowa, Kansas. Bank officials called the woman. They suspected it could be fraudulent and prevented the scammers from cashing it.

The woman sent two other checks with unknown amounts that also did not get cashed, according to the report.

At one time she also sent someone a picture of her drivers license and Alaska Airlines credit card via text message.

Her daughter assured her this was a scam and told her mother she needed to call the police.

In total, the woman confirmed she lost US$32,500. – The Peninsula Gateway (Gig Harbor, Wash.)/Tribune News Service

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