NEW SCAM ALERT: Phone scheme involves ‘spoofing’ official numbers

Updated: Jun. 27, 2019 at 3:47 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) Eastern District of Louisiana is warning the public of a form of phone scamming called “spoofing” where official phone numbers are being used to trick people into sending the scammers money.

U.S. Marshal Scott Illing of the Eastern District of Louisiana wants to ensure the public that these calls are from scammers and not the official department.

“This tactic is known as neighbor spoofing, where scammers using technology to modify what number appears on your caller ID to impersonate phone numbers from friends, local businesses, and in our case, law enforcement, to appear legit,” said Illing. “Our office is receiving calls from people asking us why the U.S. Marshals are [sic] seeking money from them. We want people to know these calls are scams."

USMS is urging people to report the calls to their local FBI office, and file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Those who report can choose to remain anonymous.

During these calls, scammers attempt to collect a fine in lieu of arrest for failing to report for jury duty or other offenses. They will claim that payment is needed to forgive the debt and will attempt to get someone to read their personal banking information over the phone.

These scammers have been known to impersonate real government officials and provide badge numbers in order to trick people.

USMS wants to ensure people they will never ask for credit/debit card/gift card numbers, wire transfers, or bank routing numbers for any purpose. Also, if a 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.

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