Rochester man loses $9,000 in phone scam

(ABC 6 News) – A Rochester man is out $9,000 after falling for a phone scammer pretending to be a member of the Rochester police department.

Rochester police captain Casey Moilanen reminded the public that Rochester police will never ask people to pay fines using gift cards or MoneyPak cards, as this scammer did.

The 56-year-old man got a call June 6 from a person claiming to be a police officer, who said the man had thousands of dollars in unpaid fines.

The caller had the victim’s name, address, and place of employment. Moilanen said the victim said he had an "African accent."

When the caller expressed doubt, the caller told him to Google the number on his caller ID, which showed up as belonging to the police department.

Scam callers can "spoof" the numbers that show up on caller ID, Moilanen said.

The victim sent the caller $9,000 in MoneyPak cards, then reported the theft to police June 9.

He and the caller spent about 5 hours on the phone together, Moilanen added.

If anyone is unsure whether a caller is from Rochester police, Moilanen said to tell the caller you need to check things out, hang up, and call the Rochester police department directly and ask about the call.