Scammers Are 'Spoofing' Actual U.S. Marshals Office Phone Numbers to Fraudulently Collect Money
The U.S. Marshals Service in Maine has warned citizens of a new phone scam in which posers are trying to steal money and personal information from unsuspecting victims. The scams reportedly involve people who claim to be members of the U.S. Marshals or other federal offices, trying to fool people, the U.S. Marshals Service said in a news release on Friday. The scammers may have some information about the targeted victim which is publicly available and they may use it to make themselves more believable.
"During these calls, scammers are 'spoofing' actual U.S. Marshals office phone numbers attempting to fraudulently collect money or suffer legal consequences," the release said. They also threaten the victims and ask for money and personal information.
What is a Spoofing Scam?
The most recent phone scams involve the callers pretending to be members of the U.S. Marshals Service or any other Federal agency such as the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The scammers call the targeted victims with the intent to collect fines or bonds in lieu of arrest for failing to report for jury duty or other offenses.
On the victim’s phone, these calls may appear to be coming from the U.S. Marshals Service or any other government agency, as the scammers use a tactic called spoofing, where they use a program to change what displays on the caller ID.
The scammers may threaten the victims that they may be arrested, lose their property, or banking accounts, or face other legal consequences if they don’t pay the fine. They ask the victims to provide personal information including credit card or debit card details and bank details of their bank accounts.
The clever posers may also employ several convincing tactics. They may cite publicly available information such as old home addresses and phone numbers, of the targeted victims in order to appear credible, and authentic. Further, the agency informed that the scammers may also provide fictitious information such as a law enforcement badge and case numbers and names of actual law enforcement officials to further convince the victims about their legitimacy.
How to remain safe from Spoofing Scams?
The U.S. Marshals Service urges citizens to remain cautious if they receive any calls from the agency or other federal agencies. Further, the agency stated that it will never ask citizens to pay any fines, bonds, or fees associated with outstanding arrest warrants or jury duty over the phone. They further insisted that citizens should hang up such suspicious calls immediately and consider reporting the incident to local police.
The official release offered the following tips to keep in mind while dealing with such scam calls and remaining vigilant:
1. The U.S. Marshals Service informed that they will never ask for information such as credit, debit, or gift card numbers, wire transfers, or bank routing numbers for any purpose.
2. Further, citizens should not give up any personal or financial information to unknown callers even though they claim to be government officials.
3. Any receiver of such scam calls should report the incident to their local FBI office and the Federal Trade Commission. They can remain anonymous while reporting.
4. Citizens can also report similar crimes to their local police department.
What should the victims of the Spoofing Scam calls do?
People who have received a scam call of this nature, are advised to contact the agency in question directly through contact information available on the verified websites and authenticate the information, as per the release.
Also, the victim of a spoof scam call can report the incident to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or the online portal of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.reportfraud.ftc.gov.
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