Sunday, October 1, 2023
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Scam warning: callers impersonate government officials to extort money

The United States Attorney’s Office warned of a scam call in which people are posing as government officials in order to extort money from victims. Officials said some scammers have even been able to spoof the phone number of the U.S. Attorney’s office.

The Attorney’s office said these scammers have been targeting victims in California claiming to be either a police officer or an FBI officer and threatening to show up at the victim’s house if they refuse to pay “legal fees.” The Attorney’s office said it would never call citizens demanding “legal fees” under the threat of arrest.

“Fraudsters or scam artists will sometimes impersonate government officials to try to add credibility to their scheme,” the Attorney’s office said in a news release. “They also frequently target the elderly.”

The Attorney’s offices said to be aware of the following warning signs of a potential scam:

  • Being told you have won a prize or sweepstakes and that you have to send money to receive it.
  • Being asked for your social security number, bank account number, credit card number or any other personal financial information.
  • Using scare tactics like telling you a loved one in danger or threatening arrest if you do not pay.
  • Requesting pay via money transfer, cryptocurrency or gift cards.
  • Pressure to act immediately.
  • Promising to recover money lost in other scams for a new fee.
  • Demanding that taxes be paid without giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.

Additional tips to ensure your security and safety include:

  • Never completely trust the caller ID number as it can be manipulated.
  • Screen your calls.
  • Never click on links contained in unsolicited emails or text messages.
  • Protect your personal and financial information.

You can report fraudulent calls to the FTC via their website or by calling 877–FTC–HELP (877-382-4357). Fraud can also be reported to the FBI for law enforcement action.


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