FBI warns of scam involving spoofing of law enforcement

It’s an old scam with a new twist: Con artists are convincing people to hand over millions of dollars and to make it worse, they’re using the identities of those protecting you.

One of the most popular scams often starts with a robocall about your Social Security number.

“If I don’t hear from you, we will have to issue an arrest warrant under your name…”

Last year, Wayne Chertoff said he was contacted by someone claiming to be with the Social Security Administration.

“She said somebody was using my name and Social Security number to send thousands of dollars to Mexico and Columbia … and she said well, you have an arrest warrant out there.”

The con artist said to get rid of the warrant, Chertoff had to send $1,400 worth of Google Play cards.

Chertoff answered the call because the scammers were able to spoof a number to make it look like the Social Security office was calling, and now criminals are doing the same with another government agency.

“A St. Louis resident received a telephone call, and that telephone call was from some people claiming to be with the FBI,” said Josh Morrill, supervisory special agent with the St. Louis Field Office.

Morrill said the con artist claimed the woman’s Social Security number and identity had been stolen, and that she had to transfer $100,000 to them for safekeeping.

“The scammers were able to convince her to ultimately wire her life savings to a bank account,” Morrill said.

That person probably didn’t get their money back.

This form of extortion scam is a problem locally and nationally. Florida is in the top 10 in both victims and losses. In fact, Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell put out an alert Tuesday about scammers impersonating deputies on the phone and asking for money.

If you get a call, just hang up. Then, contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and your local law enforcement.

A lot of these scammers are overseas, which makes getting your money back very difficult. Contacting law enforcement quickly may help.

FBI: Scams and Safety
DHS: Common Scams

Reporter:Rich Kolko
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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