CASPER, Wyo. — The Casper Police Department shared a warning from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Denver Division on Wednesday, Nov. 20.
“The FBI Denver Division is warning the public of a recent phone scam that spoofs, or fraudulently displays, the FBI’s real telephone number on the victim’s caller ID,” the FBI’s release states. “The scammer impersonates a government official and uses intimidation tactics, such as the threat of arrest, to demand payment of money purportedly owed to the government.”
“These claims are false and the calls are not from the FBI.”
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The FBI Denver Division offices main number is (303) 629-7171 which they say has been “spoofed in this manner recently.”
Other numbers from their satellite offices in Colorado and Wyoming have also been spoofed with citizens nationwide being targeted.
“This scam is called government impersonation fraud and is a crime in which scammers impersonate government officials in an attempt to collect money,” the release adds. “The scammers often threaten to extort victims with physical or financial harm or the release of sensitive data about their intended victim.”
“In some cases the intended target may be told there is a federal warrant for their arrest, which would be dismissed by the court in exchange for immediate payment to the caller.”
The scammers often know information such as:
- the person’s full name
- extensive background information
- family members
- personal cell phone number of the intended victim
Other claims scammers may tell their targets are that:
- Their social security number has been compromised and linked to money laundering.
- Their social security number has been used to open bank accounts and that the government would seize those accounts.
- To protect their money, funds should be transferred to accounts specifically set up by the government, which would be protected until the situation is resolved, at which point the money would then be returned.
- Failure to transfer money could lead to loss of funds and possible arrest.
- To meet with a Social Security Administration Agent to verify identity; once complete, a new SSN would be issued so that a new bank account could be opened.
The FBI does not call private citizens to request money or threaten arrests.
“The FBI reminds the public to limit the amount of personal information provided online,to include on social media sites,” the release adds.
The avoid becoming a victim of the scams, the FBI recommends that people:
- Always be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls.
- Never give money or personal information to someone with whom you don’t have ties and did not initiate contact.
- Before signing up for a contest or email distribution list, make sure the business has a policy not to share your information or sell it to a third party.
- Scammers count on your lack of knowledge, so take the time to educate yourself about any offer you receive.
- Trust your instincts: if an unknown caller makes you uncomfortable or says things thatdon’t sound right, hang up.
The release adds that the Internet Crimes Complaint Center says that over 12,000 people nationwide have reported being victims of government impersonation with over $112 million in losses.
“More information about government impersonation schemes and other online frauds can be found at www.fbi.gov,” the release adds. “The FBI strongly encourages anyone contacted by a caller who says they are with the FBI or any government agency to verify the information with their local FBI Field Office or the government agency in question.”
“Additionally, the public should be aware that other law enforcement agencies in our community, such as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Social Security Administration, and local law enforcement agencies are also being impersonated using similar tactics as described above.”
“If you receive a call of this nature, please contact these government agency’s offices and verify a representative of their agency contacted you in order to avoid being victimized.”
“Contact information for all 56 FBI field offices can be found atwww.fbi.gov. Individuals who have been victimized by this type of scam are encouraged to file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center by visiting https://www.ic3.gov.”