U.S Marshals Office warns of phone scheme

NORFOLK, Va. - Your phone rings and you hear “U.S. Marshals Office.” What do you do?

The U.S. Marshals office says if the caller demands money, that’s a red flag. Hang up.

 “That does sound sketchy. Especially if they are asking for money I definitely wouldn’t believe them," said ODU student Matthew Parkhill.

What if they are telling the truth? You don’t want to ignore the U.S. Marshals Office.

I would ask for some type of letter or some face-to-face meeting where I could get some kind of identification before I gave them any money," said Parkhill.

Chris Leuer with the Norfolk area U.S. Marshals Office says this is not the firsttime law enforcement has seen this scheme.

“In the last week, there has been a resurgence of a scam that’s been going on all around the country, and this last week there’s been several reports of it here in Norfolk and the surrounding cities,” said Leuer.

He says no law enforcement official will ever demand money over the phone. That’s how you know it’s a scheme.

“Essentially the scam is a male calling people claiming to be a U.S. Marshal or law enforcement official saying that someone owes money - whether it’s because they missed jury duty or some other court related matter - and to avoid arrest or something like that,they need to send money to the caller,” said Leue.

While you are on the phone write down the number, the name the caller uses and any instructions they give you.

Even if the number looks local, the U.S. Marshals Office says that’s part of the scheme.

If you do get a call and want to verify they say you can always go to their office location to double check.