U.S. Marshals alert everyone about phone scams

Updated: Nov. 15, 2017 at 11:59 AM EST
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(WWBT) - The U.S. Marshals are alerting everyone about several nationwide scams involving people claiming to be U.S. Marshals, court officers, or other law enforcement officials.

Those who receive the calls are not only urged to call their local U.S. Marshals Service Office but also the Federal Trade Commission, which can detect patterns of fraud and can share the information with law enforcement.

"These are not victimless crimes," said U.S. Marshal Bobby Mathieson. "People have lost thousands of dollars to these scammers. This can be devastating, especially during the holidays."

"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," U.S. Marshals said in a press release.

"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," said U.S. Marshal Bobby Mathieson. "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."

Mathieson says the easiest way for victims to do this is to call the clerk of the court's office of the U.S. District Court in their area and to verify the court order. "If an order does not exist, someone just tried to swindle you out of your hard-earned cash," said Mathieson.

Here are some things to remember:

  • U.S. Marshals will never ask for your credit, debit, or gift card numbers, wire transfers, or bank routing numbers for any purpose.
  • Do not give out your personal or financial information to unknown callers.
  • Report scam phone calls to your local U.S. Marshal Service Office and to the FTC. You can remain anonymous when you report the calls.
  • You can verify 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.

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