A scammer who claimed to be a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent threatened an immigrant with arrest – and it wasn’t until he paid off the supposed agent with Target gift cards that he realized something was amiss.

The scammer contacted the victim, who lives on the 100 block of Belvidere Avenue, on Nov. 10 at 4:12 p.m.  The scammer claimed that, if the victim didn’t cooperate with him in two criminal investigations, he would be arrested. The victim is in the process of applying for a permanent residency “green card,” and he didn’t want to risk getting arrested. 

The scammer told the victim to download the Process Control Software to gain access to his phone. He also had the victim send him a selfie and a photo of his driver’s license. The scammer then told the victim that he would either get arrested or have to pay a bond. The victim chose to pay the bond, and the scammer told him that the only way to pay the bond was via Target gift cards. 

The victim bought four $500 Target gift cards and the scammer had him read the card numbers over the phone. The scammer then told the victim that the cards expired, and he’d have to buy another set of cards. By that point, the victim realized that he was being scammed. The perpetrator said that a Chicago police officer was around the corner from his house, and that the victim would be arrested if he didn’t comply. But the victim, now sure that it was a scam, told him not to contact him again.

The victim contacted Target about the matter and reset his phone to try to get rid of the RNC software. The police advised the victim to alert his bank to ensure that his personal information couldn’t be used for further fraud.

Vehicle thefts

The trend of car thieves trying to steal Kia’s and Hyundai’s didn’t abate in Forest Park last week — but they weren’t always successful.

On Nov. 7, the owner of a grey 2020 Kia Sedan found that someone tried to steal her car overnight. The car was parked near her home on the 900 block of Lathrop Avenue. The rear passenger window was smashed, and the steering column was peeled. 

On Nov. 10, the owner of a silver 2017 Hyundai Sonata parked at his home on the 7200 block of Jackson Boulevard said the car was broken into overnight, with the rear window smashed and the steering column peeled. 

Later that day, at 9:12 a.m., an Oak Park police officer on routine patrol saw a black 2018 Hyundai Sonata in the parking lot at the 7-Eleven at 205 S. Harlem Ave. The officer noted that its rear passenger window was broken. The car went south on Harlem Avenue before turning east and racing down Madison Street.

Subsequent investigation determined  the car was stolen from the parking lot of a nearby apartment building on the 7200 block of Dixon Avenue. 

Check fraud

Forest Park saw two cases of checks drawn from Huntington National Bank accounts being stolen from mailboxes and suspects trying to either cash them or deposit them.

On Nov. 6 at around 5 p.m., a resident living on the 800 block of Lathrop Avenue dropped a letter containing a $1,600 check in the mailbox at the Harrison Street/Circle Avenue intersection. On Nov. 7 at around 3 p.m., the bank contacted the victim and said that someone tried to cash that check, and the amount written on it was changed to $3,600. Huntington didn’t cash the check and put a hold on the victim’s account. 

Also on Nov. 6 at around 5 p.m., a resident living on the 100 block of Marengo Avenue put a letter with a $580.61 check into a mailbox at Marengo Avenue/Randolph Street intersection. Huntington Bank contacted the victim on Nov. 9 to let her know that her check amount was changed to $6,706.40 and was deposited via a mobile app to a Bank of America account. 

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Forest Park Police Department, Nov. 7-10, and represent a portion of the incidents to which police responded. Unless otherwise indicated, anybody named in these reports has only been charged with a crime. These cases have not been adjudicated.

Compiled by Igor Studenkov