Two IRS Imposters Arrested in Gift Card Scam

Tax scam. Form with sign on a desk.

Two California women posing as IRS agents attempted make off with with millions of dollars in gift cards.

The two LA County women are accused of posing as IRS agents, calling people, and threatening them with arrest unless they paid them in gift cards.

The investigations started earlier this month when a victim called Fontana Police. The victim said he received a call from a scammer purporting to be from the Internal Revenue Service.

The scammer then threatened to arrest the victim if he didn’t surrender $2,200 dollars in Target gift cards. He did pay the caller, but then called local police.

Working with Target’s Loss Prevention Team, Fontana detectives tracked the redemption of the the gift cards and located surveillance video of those transactions.

Detectives and Loss Prevention Agents compared videos to a similar incident that happened in Indiana. They were able to identify two suspects: Ailing Lu, 25, of Los Angeles and Ji Hyun Lee, 25, of Gardena.

Detectives conducted surveillance on suspected vehicles and located the items purchased with the gift cards. After obtaining search warrants on two locations, they found $900,000 dollars worth of electronics, gift cards and other new items purchased with gift cards by the suspects.

According to a statement from Fonatana Police, “It’s apparent these suspects were well organized and preyed on the victims’ fear of arrest across our nation. We’re encouraging the public to contact their local law enforcement agency if they received a similar call from a scammer and followed though with the scammer’s request. As a reminder, no law enforcement or public agency will ever ask you to pay in gift cards.”

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