Scam Attempt Foiled, Thanks to Store Manager

BEATRICE – A Beatrice resident was the target of a scam where someone over the phone tried to gain money using a fake claim of a problem with taxes.

A Gage County Sheriff’s investigator says a woman received a call, which left an automated message…telling her there was a problem with her taxes, that they have been trying to reach her for six months.  The caller said a lawsuit had been initiated against her.

The investigator says the caller, with an accent appearing to be from India, identified himself as Steve Johnson, with the I-R-S.  The suspect said he was working with the sheriff’s office and that the woman would be arrested.

The caller told the woman to go to a Dollar General Store and purchase the largest denomination iTunes App Card that she could, then provide him information on the back of the card for payment.  The woman stopped at Dollar General in Beatrice, was still on the phone with the suspect, getting instructions for purchasing cards and providing the information.

That’s when a store manager overheard the woman talking to the suspect and asked her if she was being told to purchase the iTunes cards to make payment.  The manager then told the woman to hang up, because she was being scammed.

The suspect soon called the woman again, began arguing with her and told her to go to the sheriff’s office to check his story.  The woman then drove to the sheriff’s office with the suspect’s second call on “mute”.  An investigator confirmed it was a scam.

The woman targeted did not provide any personal, financial or confidential information to the caller, and did not lose any money.  Beatrice Police have been notified of the scam attempt.

Gage County law officers say people should be extremely cautious when dealing with someone demanding money over the phone.  Don’t provide any personal information over the phone, hang up or block the phone number, and contact local law enforcement.

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