FBI Jacksonville
Amanda Warford Videll
(904) 248-7093
February 21, 2017

Government Impersonators Targeting North Florida Residents

Federal Agencies Do Not Threaten Individuals or Demand Immediate Payment

JACKSONVILLE, FL—The FBI Tallahassee office has received reports of efforts by scammers to target residents across north Florida through unsolicited telephone calls in which the caller claims to be a representative of a government agency including the FBI Jacksonville Division.

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 have been, or soon will be, filed against them, and threatens to confiscate the recipient’s property, freeze their bank accounts, or have them arrested unless payment is made immediately. 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, 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 (see below).

If you think you are a victim of a scam and suffered a loss financially or otherwise, please file a report with your local law enforcement agency.

All types of fraud schemes and scams (even if there is no financial loss) should also 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 to aid in public awareness and crime-prevention education efforts.