A man posing as a police officer scammed a Janesville woman out of $6,000 last week.

A man saying he was “Officer Daniel” from Texas called the woman July 16, gave her a case number and said if she did not follow instructions, someone would arrest her, according to a Janesville police report.

“Officer Daniel” also told the woman that her Social Security number had been compromised and that she needed to get $5,000 in gift cards and send them in, and she would get a $5,000 reward.

When the woman began to cry, and the scammer yelled at her and told her people were coming to get her from Texas. The woman said she had no connections to Texas, but she was frightened by the man’s continued threats to arrest her.


State consumer protection officials are distributing signs like this one to stores, to hang near places where gift cards are sold. Anyone wanting the signs should call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-422-7128 or email DATCPHotline@wisconsin.gov.

The woman withdrew $6,000 from her bank and went to several stores and bought Target, Apple, Walmart and Visa brand gift cards, according to the report. The report is not clear about why she sent $6,000 when the request was for $5,000.

The scammer told her to keep him on the line as she went to the stores but to put the phone in her purse. She then went home and gave him the card numbers.

“At this point, she believed this was a fraud,” the report states.

Police told the woman they had little chance of catching the scammer. They said she should contact her bank and credit card company. They also said to call the gift card companies, which they said might be able to stop the transactions.

The Federal Trade Commission and state consumer protection officials say if anyone asks you to pay them in gift cards, they are trying to defraud you.

Among the different gift card scams, according to the FTC:

  • A caller says he’s from the government and that you must pay a fine or taxes.
  • Someone calls from “tech support” for a computer company, saying something is wrong with your computer.
  • Someone on a dating website says he needs money and asks for help.
  • Someone pretends to be a friend or family member in distress and asks you to send money.
  • Someone says you won a prize, but first, you have to pay fees or other charges with a gift card.
  • The caller claims to be from the power company or another utility and threatens to cut off service if you don’t pay.
  • You get a check from someone for more than expected, and you are told to deposit the check and give them the difference on a gift card. The check will be fake.

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