If you get a call threatening to collect a fine for failing to report for jury duty or some other offense, be careful.
The U.S. Marshals in the District of Idaho are warning of an imposter phone scam. Con artists are “spoofing” the district office’s real phone number to trick people into sending money.
“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 U.S. Marshal Brent Bunn of the District of Idaho.
He said the Idaho office is receiving dozens of calls from people nationwide asking why they’re being called.
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 sometimes provide information like badge numbers, names of actual lawmen, federal judges, and courthouse addresses.
The U.S. Marshals are urging people to report the calls to their local FBI office and file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, which has the ability to detect patterns of fraud from the information collected and share that data with law enforcement.
Bunn suggested people 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.