Police are warning about a phone scam that bilked a Glendale man out of $11,500 after he received a call from someone posing as an immigration agent threatening jail time.
In the last few weeks, callers have been posing as Internal Revenue Service agents, law enforcement officials and utility representatives who warn victims they will be arrested or have their utilities shut off if they don't pay a fine, the Glendale News-Press reported.
On Thursday, a 28-year-old man received a call on his cellphone from a man who said his name was "Kevin Spencer," an employee in the financial department of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said Glendale Police spokeswoman Tahnee Lightfoot.
The caller said the victim had failed to file for his alien-registration card upon entering the United States several years ago and would be arrested unless he paid a fine, Lightfoot said.
The victim was instructed he had to pay $5,000 for his violation, another $5,000 for his wife's violation and $1,000 in fines for failing to file the documents properly and had to do so by obtaining Green Dot Moneypak cards from Safeway, Vons and CVS, she said.
"The victims felt compelled to listen to the caller's instructions because they had information about their migration to the [United States] and they also had addresses of family members that live overseas," Lightfoot said.
The victim was on the phone for nine hours while the Moneypak cards were obtained. It was not until the following day the victim realized the call was a scam and called the police.
Officials reminded the public that law enforcement agencies, the IRS and utility companies do not collect money through prepaid cards.
They also urged people who receive similar calls to ask for the caller's name, serial number, phone number and the name of their supervisor, or to simply hang up and alert their utility, the IRS or the authorities.
Arin Mikailian writes for Times Community News.