FBI Philadelphia
Public Affairs Specialist Carrie Adamowski
(215) 418-4135
February 4, 2016

Scammers Using Spoofed FBI Phone Numbers to Fool Victims

The Philadelphia Division of the FBI is warning the public to be on alert for a phone scam that spoofs, or fraudulently displays, the FBI’s real telephone number on the victim’s caller ID.

FBI offices in at least 12 states have received reports of such scams, involving someone claiming to be an FBI agent and demanding immediate payment—for school loans, back taxes, even parking tickets. The caller often knows the name, background, and personal cell phone number of the intended victim.

Recently, international students attending area colleges and universities have been heavily targeted. The caller claims there are problems with the visitor’s financial aid, and/or student visa, and threatens deportation if payment is not made.

The public is reminded that the FBI does not call or e-mail private citizens to demand money or threaten arrest.

The FBI strongly encourages anyone contacted by a caller who says they’re with the FBI to verify the information with the Bureau’s closest field office. The main telephone number for the FBI in Philadelphia is 215-418-4000; contact information for other field offices can be found at www.fbi.gov.

Additionally, in similar scams, callers have claimed to be with the IRS, DEA, or another government agency. As above, be suspicious and verify the caller’s information with the appropriate agency.

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