A 24-year-old man received fraudulent phone calls from a person claiming to be from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and asking him to send $2,000 in gift cards, according to Bloomington Police Department Sgt. Dana Cole.
The man reported the fraud to BPD Tuesday shortly after he realized the phone calls were not legitimate.
The man said he received a call from a woman claiming to be an ICE agent who provided a name and badge number. He said she told him his visa had expired and he was not allowed to be in the country.
She told him he needed to pay bail or be arrested, according to police reports. He was told he would pay his bail by purchasing $2,000 of Target gift cards.
He later received a phone call from someone claiming to be a police officer saying he was coming to arrest the victim. The caller said his name was “Harry Jones.” The caller ID on the number appeared to be from municipal law enforcement.
Cole said he believes the calls to be "spoofed," meaning the caller changes the ID to disguise their identity.
After the call, the man decided to purchase the gift cards. He called one of the numbers who previously contacted him and provided the gift card payment information.
He told police he later realized the calls were likely a scam and was able to cancel some of the gift cards and recovered $1,000. The store told him the other cards were already used.