The FBI Washington Field Office issued a statement Wednesday, saying that there has been a rise in phone calls carried out by scammers posing as local or federal law enforcement officers.
Fraudulent callers call individuals, introduce themselves as officers and threaten to arrest the victim unless he or she pays a certain amount of fine, according to the statement.
Moreover, the caller often makes their number look like it belongs to a local police station or federal law enforcement office on the recipient’s caller ID, by “spoofing.”
“These calls are fraudulent,” the FBI said. “Any legitimate law enforcement officer will not demand cash or gift cards from a member of the public. The FBI defines this type of scam as government impersonation fraud in which criminals impersonate government officials in an attempt to collect money.”
“The criminals often threaten to extort victims with physical or financial harm or the release of sensitive data. These scammers are becoming more sophisticated and organized in their approach, are technologically savvy, and often target young persons and the elderly.”
In order to be protected from this type of scam, the FBI advises the public to be careful when they receive phone calls from numbers they don’t recognize and not to send money to anybody they don’t personally know and trust.
You should also never give personal information, including banking details, over the phone.
A total of 10,978 people fell victim to government impersonation scams in 2018, losing over $64,000,000, the FBI informed, attributing the data to the Internet Crimes Complaint Center (IC3).