NORFOLK, Va. – The U.S. Marshals Service is warning the public of several nationwide telephone scams involving callers who say they are U.S. Marshals, court officers, or other law enforcement officials.
In one scam U.S. Marshals said the caller tries to collect a fine in lieu of arrest for failing to report for jury duty.
The U.S. Marshals Service does not call anyone to arrange payment of fines over the phone for failure to appear for jury duty or any other infraction, they said.
In another scam people are told they have won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes and are directed to pay a fee in order to claim the prize.
In order to appear credible, these scammers may provide information like badge numbers, the names of actual law enforcement officials and federal judges, and courthouse addresses, according to U.S. Marshals.
They may also spoof their phone numbers to appear on caller ID as if they are calling from the court or a government agency.
Victims have been told they can avoid arrest or claim a prize by purchasing a prepaid debit card or gift card and reading that number over the phone to the scammers.
The Marshals Service urges the public not to give out personal or financial information to unknown callers, even if they sound legitimate.
Actual court orders can be verified through the clerk of court’s office of the U.S. District Court in your area.
The scams have been reported multiple times in the Norfolk and Richmond areas.
If you believe you were a victim of such a scam, you are encouraged to report the incident to your local U.S. Marshals Service office.