The Des Moines Police Department is warning residents about a recent Social Security fraud telephone call scam that defrauded one resident out of $22,000:

Police say that on July 23, 2021, a Des Moines resident received a phone call from someone impersonating an officer from the Social Security Administration. The “officers” were calling from the Des Moines Police Department main phone number and the officer she spoke to gave her a case ID number and their badge number. The victim trusted it was a valid call, as it appeared to be coming from the Des Moines Police Department main number.

The victim claims she called the main DMPD number (most likely she clicked on a link) and it went back to the scammers. The “officers” confirmed the victim’s social security number, address, parent’s information, and other personal information, which made her believe it was legitimate call.

They told her that someone in El Paso, TX stole her social security number and had been using it to launder money and purchase drugs. They had her withdrawal $22,000 from her bank accounts to verify her funds and to “protect” them, stating once she withdrew and verified the serial numbers on the bills, via an FDIC cash machine, they would have the police come to her house and return those funds to her.

They then instructed her to go to a local Coinsource machine and deposit the funds into an electronic account. The victim did this and the call disconnected. When she called it back, the number was no longer in service. The victim lost her life savings and is unable to recover the money.

It appears the scammers “spoofed” the Des Moines Police Department main records phone number (206-878-3301) to make this fraudulent call.