FBI Pittsburgh Warns Public About Telephone Spoofing Scam Portraying FBI Phone Number
PITTSBURGH—FBI Pittsburgh is cautioning Western PA residents about a telephone spoofing campaign where the caller is portraying themselves as a special agent and the phone number is showing as FBI Pittsburgh.
In recent cases, the victim, who the caller addresses by name, is told their identity has been “compromised” and used to open fraudulent bank accounts that had been used to send suspicious money transfers overseas. Because these transfers appeared to be coming from the victim, they were told they would be prosecuted by the FBI. The caller tells the victims to prove their identity by purchasing Money Cards with all the funds in their bank account. They are then told to read the card numbers to the suspect over the phone and text him photos of the cards, the receipt, and the victim’s face. The victims are told there will be a face-to-face meeting set up to verify their identity and return their funds. But that meeting never takes place. To date, FBI Pittsburgh has seen several instances of these scams with losses between $1,000 to $6,000, and the victims have been located in other parts of the country.
The following is a list of suspicious activity to look out for related to this scam.
- Calls from local law enforcement stating an individual has fines for outstanding warrants.
- Calls from local law enforcement stating the court is holding the individual in contempt for failure to appear for jury duty.
- Requests for monetary gift cards (visa/green dot etc.) bank deposits, and voucher purchases to clear court fines or avoid jail time.
- Requests for videos or pictures of individuals conducting a personal strip search of themselves to clear court fines or avoid jail time.
Please remember, law enforcement will never call you if you have an arrest warrant, nor will they ask you to send money or gift cards to clear a warrant. Lastly, they will never ask you to send pictures or videos of yourself for any reason.
While the calls appear to be a nuisance at this time, the FBI reminds the public to be vigilant and never share personal identifying information with a caller that you have not initiated contact with or have not verified as a legitimate business or organization. To report a call or message from someone portraying to be law enforcement or the FBI, please contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL FBI or online at tips.fbi.gov with as much caller information as possible.