Enayat Bargen, 69, went missing Tuesday after receiving a phone call from an imposter pretending to be from the IRS. The scammer demanded that Bargen fork over $4,000 or be arrested.
“If they don’t comply, they say that the IRS will be out within the hour to arrest them,” Sierra Madre Police Chief Larry Giannone said.
Bargen used the money to purchase pre-paid Green Dot debit cards from multiple locations. Her family filed a missing person’s report after they became concerned about Bargen’s whereabouts.
The scammers were able to get ahold of the funds from the security codes on the back of the Green Dot cards, which Bargen provided.
Bargen was located nine hours after the incident, when she appeared at the local police station, according to KTLA News.
The Sierra Madre Police Department said it received about 50 reports from residents who had also been contacted by the imposters. Bargen and one other person were the only two to actually fall for the scam. The other victim provided the crooks with $2,000.
“For them to target our community like this is very unusual," Giannone said.
No arrests have been made and the police are warning residents to be cautious.