FBI Philadelphia
Public Affairs Specialist Carrie Adamowski
November 16, 2017

Phone Scam Uses Threats, Spoofed FBI Phone Numbers

The FBI’s Philadelphia Division is again warning the public to be on alert for a phone scam that spoofs, or fakes, the FBI’s name and actual telephone number on the recipient’s caller ID.

We have seen our main number (215-418-4000) spoofed in this manner, as well as the phone numbers of the division’s resident agencies:

  • Allentown – 610-433-6488
  • Fort Washington – 215-641-8910
  • Harrisburg – 717-232-8686
  • Newtown Square – 610-353-4500
  • Scranton – 570-344-2404
  • South Jersey – 856-795-9556
  • State College – 814-234-0341
  • Williamsport – 570-323-3791

Scammers have targeted residents around the region, claiming to be with the FBI; the intended victim may be told there’s a federal warrant for their arrest, which will be thrown out in exchange for immediate payment.

FBI field offices across the country have received reports of similar calls, showing local FBI phone numbers. The caller says they’re an FBI agent and demands money—for school loans, back taxes, even unpaid parking tickets. The caller often knows the name, background, and personal cell phone number of the intended victim.

International students attending U.S. colleges and universities have also been targeted. The caller insists there are problems with the visitor’s financial aid, and/or student visa, and threatens deportation if payment is not made.

Please note that the FBI does not call or e-mail people to demand money or threaten arrest.

To avoid becoming the victim of a scam:

- Always be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls

- Never give money or personal information to someone with whom you don’t have ties and did not initiate contact

- Trust your instincts: if an unknown caller makes you uncomfortable or says things that don’t sound right, hang up

Victims of phone or online scams can file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov.