FBI Jacksoville
Amanda Warford Videll
(904) 248-7093
June 30, 2016

Government Impersonators Targeting North Florida Residents

The FBI Jacksonville Division has received numerous reports of increased efforts by scammers to target residents across north Florida through unsolicited telephone calls in which the caller claims to be a representative of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or other government agency.

There are many versions of the government impersonation scam, and they all exploit intimidation tactics. The caller typically advises the recipient of the call that charges will soon be filed against them and threatens to confiscate the recipient’s property, freeze their bank accounts, or have them arrested unless payment is made. If the recipient questions the caller, the caller becomes more aggressive. The recipients are advised that it will cost thousands of dollars in fees or court costs to resolve the matter, and the caller typically instructs people to wire “settlement” money or provide payment via prepaid cards or gift cards to avoid arrest.

Be advised that federal agencies do not call or e-mail individuals threatening them or demanding that they send money. Scammers often spoof caller ID information, and these phone calls are fraudulent even if they appear to be coming from a federal agency’s legitimate phone number. Recipients should hang up immediately and report the call.

All types of fraud schemes and scams can be reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov. Filing a complaint allows analysts from the FBI to identify leads and patterns from the hundreds of complaints that are received daily. The IC3 then refers the complaints, along with their analyses, to the relevant law enforcement agency for follow-up.

In addition, if you think you have been the victim of an IRS impersonation scam, please file a report online with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.