Several nationwide imposter scams involving individuals claiming to be U.S. Marshals, court officers, or other law enforcement officials are being investigated.
The U.S. Marshals urges people to report the calls not only to their local U.S. Marshals Service office, but also to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The FTC has the ability to detect patterns of fraud from the information collected and share that data with law enforcement.
“These are not victimless crimes,” said Mike Oglesby, U.S. Marshal. “People have lost thousands of dollars to these scammers. This can be devastating, especially during the holidays.”
The U.S. Marshals hope the information collected by the FTC will lead to possible arrests.
“The information people report to the FTC can help law enforcement investigate and track down the perpetrators,” Oglesby said.
During these calls, scammers attempt 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 gift card and read the card number over the phone to satisfy the fine.
“The U.S. Marshals would never ask for a credit/debit or gift card number or banking routing numbers or ask for funds to be wired for any purpose,” said Oglesby. “If the caller is urging you to provide this type of information or any other personal or financial information, hang up and report the call to the Marshals and the FTC. You can even report to both agencies anonymously.”
Scammers use many tactics to sound credible. They sometimes provide information like badge numbers, names of actual law enforcement officials and federal judges, and courthouse addresses.
They may also spoof their phone numbers to appear on caller ID as if they are calling from the court or a government agency.
Report the incident to a local U.S. Marshals Service office and to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.
Things to remember:
• U.S. Marshals will never ask for credit/debit card/gift card numbers, wire transfers, or bank routing numbers for any purpose.
• Do not divulge personal or financial information to unknown callers.
• Report scam phone calls to your local U.S. Marshals Service office and to the Federal Trade Commission.
• You can remain anonymous when you report.
• Authenticate the call by asking for the court case or filing number, then call the clerk of the court’s office in your area, state or federal, and verify the court order given by the caller.