12 On Your Side Alert: Federal claims court scam - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

12 On Your Side Alert: Federal claims court scam

(WWBT) -

Scammers at it again, calling people in the Richmond area leaving threatening messages in a deceitful attempt to take your money and identity.

A Richmond man received one of those messages in which the caller said he was from federal claims court and threatened him with arrest if he didn't do what the caller wanted. 

We got in touch with the FBI. The special agent we spoke with says there are many variations. Some are thought up and implemented right here, but most originate overseas.

He gives the same advice: don't engage the scammer even when you're threatened. 

Christopher Cooke saved the hostile message on his phone.

Someone named Harry Jordan called him from D.C. He didn't recognize the name or number, so he let it go to voice mail.

Part of the message says, "You will be getting arrested in the next coming 24 hours. If we did not get any kind of a response from you, we are not responsible for any kind of legal consequences you may be facing in your future."

The scam caller left a number for him to return the call, but Cooke was suspicious from the start.

"I pay my taxes, and I have a pretty great life, so I knew I hadn't done anything wrong and they didn't call me by name. They did not use my name," said Cooke.

The FBI sees these type of schemes every day. They are phishing scams and the common thread they share is using fear as a motivator to compel a frightened person on the other end of the call to give up information they shouldn't. 

“I receive these type of calls on my home.  I hang up on them. I don't pay them any type of mind," said Supervisor Special Agent Robert Hilland.

Most people want to know how the call shows up on their phone with a name attached, and the person isn't in their contact list.  Special Agent Hilland says they are spoofed numbers.

"It's no different than sometimes our email accounts get hacked, and you receive an email from someone you think you know. It's actually a phishing email or some type of malicious software kind of thing. Same thing," said Special Agent Hilland.

In the meantime, Cooke says he called 12 to help warn others and maybe put FBI investigators on the scammers' trail.

He has a message for the scam callers, "Get a real job. Try to find other means to make money instead of scamming people out of the hard work
that they've put in."

If you receive a similar call, notify the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center.  It collects these complaints and passes this information on to FBI offices throughout the country.

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