NORFOLK, Va. – U.S. Marshals in the Eastern District of Virginia are once again warning the public of an impostor phone scam where callers are spoofing the district office’s real number to trick people in sending them money.
Known as neighbor spoofing, scammers use technology to modify what number appears on your caller ID to impersonate phone numbers from friends, local businesses and law enforcement.
During these calls, scammers try to collect a fine in lieu of arrest for failing to report for jury duty or other offenses. They then tell victims they can avoid arrest by purchasing a prepaid debit card such as a Green Dot card or a gift card and read the card number over the phone to satisfy the fine.
“Offices from all over the country are receiving calls from people asking why the Marshals are seeking money from them,” said Deputy Brian Stalnaker of the Eastern District of Virginia. “We want people to know these calls are scams.”
Marshals are urging people to report the calls to their local FBI office and file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, which has the ability to detect patters of fraud from the information collected and share that data with law enforcement.
“Scammers use many tactics to sound credible. They sometimes provide information like badge numbers, names of actual law enforcement officials and federal judges” stated U.S. Marshal Nick Proffitt of the Eastern District of Virginia. “These calls are becoming more prevalent in our area, and the people behind them need to be brought to justice.”
Officials have provided a list of tips to remember should you get such a call:
- 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.
- If scammer 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 and verify the court order given by the caller.
If you believe you were a victim of such a scam, you are encouraged to report the incident to your local FBI office and to the FTC.