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A 3-hour phone call that brought her to tears: Imposter scams cost Americans billions
It was a Monday in the middle of the day when Valeria Haedo got a phone call from a number she didn't recognize. She doesn't normally pick those up, but she did that day. The caller said his name was Officer Robert Daniels from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and he had a warrant for her arrest.
He told Haedo she could verify him by Googling his name and department. She did, and it checked out. But what Haedo didn't realize in that moment is she'd just been targeted in an intricate scam. She was kept on the phone for more than three hours and eventually brought to tears.
The scam is known as an imposter scam and is the top fraud in the U.S. right now. It involves the perpetrator impersonating an authority figure and using scare tactics to reel in victims. While these scams have been around forever, they've become more believable because con artists use real names of law enforcement officers that show up with caller ID from an actual office and even local accents.