The U.S. Marshals Service today warned of a telephone scam that has some scamster calling random victims and alleging they or their family members have an active federal arrest warrant and demanding payment of fines.
From the US Marshals office: “On December 7, 2015, the fraudster identified himself as a Deputy United States Marshal and informed the potential victims they or their family member had active federal warrants for their arrest. The caller then gave the potential victims a contact number and information to pay the fine. The phony law enforcement officer threatened the potential victims with arrest if the fine was not paid. The fraudster then tells the victim to buy a prepaid money card from a local grocery store in the Cincinnati area. The victim is then instructed to give the access account code for the prepaid money card to the phony law enforcement officer. “
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The Marshals Service said it informed of the scam after receiving several calls from citizens in the Cincinnati, Ohio area.
The law enforcement agency said it does not call anyone with outstanding arrest warrants to garner fine payments or fees with outstanding arrest warrants.
The agency said if you get one of these calls “not to divulge personal or financial information to unknown callers and highly recommends the public report similar crimes to the FBI or their local police or Sheriff’s office if they are the victims of fraud. For Internet related fraud, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center can be contacted at www.ic3.gov. “
The scam is similar to one the IRS says still plagues the agency and public whereby the fraudster calls victims saying they are from the IRS and want payments for back taxes or other made up scenarios.
The IRS said over the summer it had seen a surge of these phone scams from scam artists who threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other bogus things.
Phone scams in fact for the first time topped the “Dirty Dozen” scam list compiled annually by the IRS and lists a variety of common scams taxpayers may encounter any time during the year. Scammers are able to alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS badge numbers. They often leave "urgent" callback requests. They prey on the most vulnerable people, such as the elderly, newly arrived immigrants and those whose first language is not English.
Scammers have been known to impersonate agents from IRS Criminal Investigation as well.
"If someone calls unexpectedly claiming to be from the IRS with aggressive threats if you don't pay immediately, it's a scam artist calling,” the IRS said "The first IRS contact with taxpayers is usually through the mail. Don’t be taken in and don’t engage these people over the phone.”
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