The FBI is warning the public of ongoing widespread fraud schemes in which scammers impersonate law enforcement or government officials in attempts to extort money or steal personally identifiable information.
Scammers will often spoof authentic phone numbers and names and use fake credentials of well-known government and law enforcement agencies. Scammers will use an urgent and aggressive tone, refusing to speak to or leave a message with anyone other than their targeted victim; and will urge victims not to tell anyone else, including family, friends, or financial institutions, about what is occurring.
Payment is demanded in various forms, with the most prevalent being prepaid cards, wire transfers, and cash, sent by mail or inserted into cryptocurrency ATMs. Victims are asked to read prepaid card numbers over the phone or text a picture of the card. Mailed cash will be hidden or packaged to avoid detection by normal mail scanning devices. Wire transfers are often sent overseas so funds almost immediately vanish.
Law enforcement authorities or government officials will never contact members of the public by telephone to demand any form of payment, or to request personal or sensitive information. Any legitimate investigation or legal action will be done in person or by an official letter. Always ask for credentials to validate their identity.
If You Are A Victim
- Cease all contact with the scammers immediately.
- Notify your financial institutions and safeguard any financial accounts.
- Contact your local law enforcement and file a police report.
- File a complaint with the FBI IC# at www.ic3.gov.
- Be sure to keep any financial transaction information, including prepaid cards and banking records and all telephone, text, or email communications.