Woman scammed out of thousands of dollars by phony Homeland Security agent

COLUMBUS, Ind. – Police in Columbus are warning of a scam involving someone claiming to be with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

According to the Columbus Police Department, a woman received a phone call from a man identifying himself as an agent with Homeland Security. He told her to buy thousands of dollars in iTunes gift cards, advising her that she’d be arrested and held until the agency could examine her immigration papers if she didn’t comply.

The suspect knew the victim’s personal information, including her social security number, and used software that made it look like the call was from a legitimate Homeland Security number.

The woman bought thousands of dollars in gift cards and provided the man with PIN codes to activate them. The woman later reported the incident to local police.

Police are reminding Hoosiers that legitimate law enforcement agencies will not accept payment in the form of gift cards. Anyone who receives a similar phone call should jot down the number, hang up and report the call.