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FBI Warns of Scammers Posing as FBI Agents and Calling People for Money

The scammers are calling people and impersonating FBI agents with the called ID identifying the phone number as FBI El Paso and FBI Midland Resident Agency.
UPDATED AUG 24, 2023
Cover Image Source: Pexels | Tara Winstead
Cover Image Source: Pexels | Tara Winstead

The FBI is warning everyone of a telephone scam targeting people mostly in West Texas where criminals are pretending to be FBI agents. The scammer impersonates FBI agents and even the caller's ID shows the phone number as FBI El Paso and FBI Midland Resident Agency, reports KFox14.

The scammer addresses the victim by their name and says that their identity has been compromised and they are being prosecuted in connection to fraudulent bank accounts and suspicious international money transfers. The scammer then instructs them to buy Money Cards with all the funds in their cards and says that it's mandatory in order to prove their identity.

Image Source: Moose Photos/Pexels
Image Source: Moose Photos/Pexels

The victims are then told that there will soon be an in-person meeting where they will need to verify their identity to get back their funds. However, that never happens.

The FBI has got reports of many such instances where people lost their money ranging from $1,000 to $6,000. There were also victims from other parts of the country and the agency has given a list of suspicious activities related to this scam. Here's what they said.

1. Calls from local enforcement stating that the receiver of the call has outstanding fines.

2. Calls from local law enforcement stating that the court is holding the individual responsible for failing to appear for jury duty.

3. Requests for videos or pictures of individuals conducting a search of themselves to clear the court fines. 

FBI said that it's important to know that law enforcement would never call anyone even if they had an arrest warrant. Also, it will never ask people to pay any money or send videos of themselves for any reason. 

What is a phishing scam?

The FBI El Paso scam is a perfect example of a phishing scam. Phishing scams begin with communication that gives the victim a false impression of the call coming from a reputable source. The goal of the scams is mostly to steal your sensitive data or simply your money. Phishing attacks are designed in a very intelligent way to lure victims into believing everything they say and doing everything they ask them to do. If the scammers are successful in fooling the victim, they could coax the victim into providing financial details and other confidential information. In some cases, the scammers even download malware onto the victim's device. Other times, emails are sent to obtain the information.

Pexels | Anna Tarazevich
Image Source: Anna Tarazevich/Pexels 

Some popular types of phishing attacks are as follows. 

Spear phishing: Attackers, instead of targeting an individual, attack a group of people or an organization. This is often the initial step in weakening a company's defenses.

Whaling: When attackers go after a high-level executive like a CTO, a CFO, or a CEO, the practice is called whaling. In these attacks, the scammers are more often than not trying to attack at a big scale.

Pharming: Very similar to phishing, pharming includes creating a fake website that can lure many people at once.  

How to protect yourself from phishing scams?

Staying informed: One way to shield yourself from these practices can be education. Teaching yourself to recognize the emails or any red flags for that matter can help you to avoid such attacks in the future. Simulation exercises in companies can also help employees get a better idea of the scams that could be used on employees to take company information.

Goof technology to bar the scams: No one software can give you all the protection in the world. However many institutions are looking at a layered approach that can actually help the organizations reduce the number of attacks. Network security technologies include malware protection, user behavior monitoring, and also access control.