The U.S. Marshals in the Western District of Missouri are alerting the public of an imposter phone scam where con artists are spoofing official phone numbers to trick people into sending money.
The tactic, known as spoofing, involves scammers using technology to modify what number appears on the victim’s caller ID. Recently, many of these frauds involved the use of U.S. Marshals official phone numbers. “These are not victimless crimes, and many people have lost thousands of dollars to these con artists”, said U.S. Marshal Mark James. “The public should know that the U.S. Marshals will never ask for personal information such as a credit/debit or gift card number, or a bank routing number.”
The U.S. Marshals are urging people to report these calls to their local FBI office, https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us, and to file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/. The FTC has the ability to detect patterns of fraud from the information collected, and share that data with law enforcement.
During many of these calls, scammers attempt to collect a fine in lieu of arrest for failing to report for jury duty or other offenses. They then tell victims they can avoid arrest by purchasing a prepaid debit card such as a Green Dot card or gift card, and read the card number over the phone to satisfy the fine.
Scammers use many tactics to sound credible. They sometimes provide information like badge numbers, names of actual law enforcement officials and federal judges, and courthouse addresses.
If you believe you were a victim of such fraud, you are encouraged to report the incident to your local FBI office and to the FTC.
Things to remember:
· 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. · If scammer provides a court order, 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.