The FBI and U.S. Marshals Service are warning Americans to be on alert following a recent rash of phony phone calls from opportunistic fraudsters.
National law enforcement agencies issued an alert warning of several recent reports of imposter scams involving individuals claiming to be U.S. marshals, court officers, or other law enforcement officials.
During the calls, officials said that scammers attempt to collect a fine in lieu of arrest for failing to report for jury duty or various other offenses. They then tell victims they can avoid arrest by purchasing a prepaid debit card and read the card number over the phone to satisfy the fine.
“Scammers use many tactics to sound credible,” according to the U.S. Marshals Service. “They sometimes provide information like badge numbers, names of actual law enforcement officials and federal judges, and courthouse addresses. They may also spoof their phone numbers to appear on caller ID as if they are calling from the court or a government agency.”
In response, the FBI is urging people to report any potential phone scam attempts to their local office, and to file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, which has the ability to detect patterns of fraud from the information collected and share that data with law enforcement.
The U.S. Marshals service made several notes when reporting the scams:
- U.S. Marshals will never ask for credit/debit card/gift card numbers, wire transfers, or bank routing numbers for any purpose.
- Don’t divulge personal or financial information to unknown callers.
- Report scam phone calls to your local FBI office and to the FTC.
- You can remain anonymous when you report.
- Authenticate the call by calling the clerk of the court’s office of the U.S. District Court in your area and verify the court order given by the caller.
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