ST. GEORGE – If someone calls you from the U.S. Marshals Office demanding money, they’re almost definitely a crook.
That’s the message law enforcers are broadcasting to the public, prompted by a nationwide scam known as “neighbor spoofing.”
So brazen are the fraudsters, they’ve even made scam calls impersonating actual phone numbers from the U.S. Marshal’s Office.
“Scammers using technology to modify what number appears on your caller ID to impersonate phone numbers from friends, local businesses, and in our case, law enforcement, to appear legit,” U.S. Marshal Matthew D. Harris, district of Utah, said in a news release.
The illicit spoofs are designed to trick people into sending money.
“We are receiving hundreds of calls from people nationwide asking us why the marshals are seeking money from them,” Harris said. “We want people to know these calls are scams.”
During these illicit calls, scammers attempt to collect a fine, claiming the call recipient has failed to report for jury duty or other offenses. Scammers then tell victims they can avoid arrest by purchasing a prepaid debit card, such as a Green Dot card or gift card, and ask the victim to 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, court addresses and names of actual law enforcement officials and federal judges.
The U.S. Marshals are urging people to report the calls to their local FBI office and file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, which can detect patterns of fraud from the information collected and share that data with law enforcement.
Officials want you to know:
- 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 the incident.
- If a caller 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 to verify the court order.
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