U.S. Marshals and FBI urging public to report phone scams

NORFOLK, Va. – The U.S. Marshals and the FBI are warning the public of several nationwide scams that involve individuals claiming to be the be U.S. Marshals, court officers, or other law enforcement officials.

The scammers attempt to collect a fine in lieu of arrest for several offenses including compromised social security numbers and failing to report to jury duty, then tell victims they can avoid the arrest by purchasing a prepaid debit card, Green Dot card or gift card by reading their card number over the phone.

The scammers use many tactics to sound credible, provide badge numbers, names of actual law enforcement officials and federal judges, and courthouse address. Their phone numbers on caller ID are also tampered with to look like they are calling from the court or a government agency.

Officials are urging the public to report these calls to their local FBI office and file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC has the ability to detect patters of fraud from the information collected, then share that data with law enforcement.

According to officials, the following are important things to remember:

  • U.S. Marshals will never ask for credit or debit card numbers, 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.
  • Authenticate the call by calling the clerk of the court’s office of the U.S. District Court in your area and verify the court order given by the caller.

Click here to find your local FBI office.