RICHMOND, Va. — The U.S. Marshal are warning Virginians of a phone scam involving con artists spoofing the district office’s real number to trick people into sending money.
The tactic is known as neighbor spoofing, where scammers using technology to modify what number appears on your caller ID and impersonate phone numbers.
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.
Scammers use many tactics to sound credible, sometimes providing information like badge numbers, names of actual law enforcement officials and federal judges, and courthouse addresses.
“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.”
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.
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.
- 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.