US Marshals alert: Regional and nationwide upsurge of phone scammers are demanding people meet them and bring money
Published 9:10 am Thursday, February 8, 2024
The U.S. Marshals Service for the Eastern District of Tennessee is alerting citizens of an upsurge of phone scams in which callers pose as U.S. Marshals or U.S. Marshals Service employees and threaten imminent arrest, demand to meet in person to get money, or want financial information.
The scams continue to resurface and evolve, with different iterations being reported nationwide. During previous scams, criminals attempted 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.
Now, scammers contact the victim and demand the victim meet with them to hand-deliver a certain amount of money.
“The new strategy these scammers are employing places victims in a highly dangerous situation,” stated David Jolley, U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Tennessee. “Criminals used to ask for money over the phone; now they are demanding to be met in specific locations. We urge the public to refrain from meeting with anyone who calls them impersonating law enforcement and demanding money.” he added.
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. “While these callers may sound legitimate, we urge people to question their validity of their claims,” stated Marshal Jolley. “The easiest way to do this is to call the U.S. Marshals Service or the FBI,” he added.
The U.S. Marshals Service is urging people to report the calls to their local U.S. Marshals Service office (https://www.usmarshals.gov/district/index.html) and file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (https://www.ftc.gov/). The FTC has the ability to detect patterns of fraud from the information collected and share that data with law enforcement.
If you believe you may be a victim of the jury duty scam, identity theft, or other scheme, you can also file a complaint online with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov.
“This is not a victimless crime. Every call that is reported helps law enforcement investigate and track down the perpetrators. Our goal is to protect our citizens and stop these criminals from harassing and threatening our communities,” Marshal Jolley said.
“The U.S. Marshals would never ask for a credit/debit or gift card number or banking routing numbers or ask for funds to be wired for any purpose,” added Marshal Jolley “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 U.S. Marshals and the FTC. You can even report to both agencies anonymously.”
Useful 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.
– You can remain anonymous when filing a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
– Authenticate the call by calling the agency the caller said they represented.