FBI Memphis Field Office, U.S. Marshals Service Warn Tennesseans About Phone Scams
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)—Memphis Field Office and the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) are warning Tennesseans about phone calls that spoof the U.S. Marshals Service phone number. These imposter scams involve individuals claiming to be U.S. marshals, court officers, or other law enforcement officials.
The FBI defines this type of scam as government impersonation fraud, in which criminals impersonate government officials in an attempt to collect money. According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), in 2021, Tennesseans reported being victims of government impersonation scams with losses totaling $1,053,487.
These calls are fraudulent; any legitimate law enforcement officer will not demand cash or gift cards from a member of the public or threaten to extort victims with physical or financial harm to obtain personally identifiable information. Scammers are becoming more sophisticated and organized in their approach, are technologically savvy, and often target young persons and the elderly.
Protect Yourself The following tips can help you avoid these scams:
- Be wary of answering phone calls from numbers you do not recognize.
- Do not send money or gift cards to anybody that you do not personally know and trust.
- Never give out your personal information, including banking information, Social Security number, or other personally identifiable information, over the phone or to individuals you do not know.
If you believe you are a victim of such a scam, you are encouraged to report the incident to your local FBI office and to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
More information about government impersonation schemes and other online fraud schemes can be found at https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-fraud-schemes.