CLEVELAND -- The U.S. Marshals are alerting the public of several nationwide imposter scams involving individuals claiming to be U.S. marshals, court officers, or other law enforcement officials.
They are urging people to report the calls not only to their local U.S. Marshals Service office, but also to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The FTC has the ability to detect patterns of fraud from the information collected and share that data with law enforcement.
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.
“The U.S. Marshals would never ask for a credit/debit or gift card number, banking routing numbers, or ask for funds to be wired for any purpose,” said U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott.
“If the caller is urging you to provide this type of information or any other personal or financial information, hang up and report the call to the Marshals and the FTC. You can even report to both agencies anonymously," Elliott said.
Scammers use many tactics to sound credible. They sometimes provide information like badge numbers, names of actual law enforcement officials and federal judges, and courthouse addresses. They may also spoof their phone numbers to appear on caller ID as if they are calling from the court or a government agency.
If a citizen receives a potential scam phone call, the US Marshals are urging the public to call the clerk of the court’s office of the U.S. District Court in your area and verify the court order. If an order does not exist, then it is likely the individual is being scammed.
If you believe you were a victim of such a scam, you are encouraged to report the incident to your local U.S. Marshals Service office and to the FTC (www.ftc.gov).
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.
-- Do not divulge personal or financial information to unknown callers.
-- Report scam phone calls to your local U.S. Marshals Service office and to the FTC. You can remain anonymous when you report.
-- 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.