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U.S. Marshals: Report scam calls to FTC

(MGN)

ROANOKE, Va. (WSET) - The U.S. Marshals are alerting the public of several nationwide scams where callers claim to be U.S. Marshals, court officers, or other law enforcement.

The service is urging people to call and report the scams not only to their office, but also to the Federal Trade Commission.

The U.S. Marshals says the FTC has the ability to detect patterns of fraud from the information they collect, and that data can be shared with law enforcement.

“These are not victimless crimes,” said Brad Sellers, Acting U.S. Marshal. “People have lost thousands of dollars to these scammers. This can be devastating, especially during the holidays.”

The U.S. Marsha's hopes the information collected by the FTC will lead to possible arrests.

“The information people report to the FTC can help law enforcement investigate and track down the perpetrators,” Marshal Sellers said.

Officials say scammers attempt to collect a fine in lieu of arrest for failing to report for jury duty or other offenses.

The scammers then tell victims they can avoid arrest by buying a prepaid debit card or gift card and read the number over the phone.

“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 Sellers. “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.”

The U.S. Marshals Service says scammers may use information like badge numbers, names of actual officers and judges, and courthouse addresses to try and sound credible.

“While these callers may sound legitimate, we urge people to question their validity,” said Sellers. “The easiest way to do this is to call the clerk of the court’s office of the U.S. District Court in your area and verify the court order. If an order does not exist, someone just tried to swindle you out of your hard-earned cash.”

The U.S. Marshals have the following things to remember:

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

If you believe you've been the victim of a scam like this, contact the U.S. Marshals Service and the FTC.

To file a complaint with the FTC, click here.

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