Scammers Spoofing FBI Phone Numbers to Fool Victims
The FBI is warning the public about the latest phone scam that spoofs, or fraudulently displays, the FBI’s real telephone number on the victim’s caller ID.
A St. Louis County victim was scammed out of more than $100,000. The scammers posed as special agents from an FBI satellite office of the FBI Kansas City Division.
In this latest iteration, the perpetrators said the victim’s Social Security number had been stolen and used to purchase property and stocks and to open bank accounts in the victim’s name. To safeguard the victim’s money, the scammers gave instructions on how to wire the victim’s life savings to the “FBI” for safekeeping.
Special Agent in Charge Richard Quinn of the FBI St. Louis Division said, “It is appalling how perpetrators will ask victims how much money they have in their life savings in order to scam them out of every penny. But they rarely stop there. Scammers will squeeze victims dry by also maxing out their credit cards.”
Special Agent in Charge Timothy Langan of the FBI Kansas City Division added, “These are old scams that keep evolving with a new twist. Because there are endless versions of these scams, please remember this—the FBI will never ask/demand money for any reason. When someone asks for your money—especially through a wire transfer—or your personal or financial information, be suspicious and verify the legitimacy of the request.”
Since spoofed phone numbers belong to a legitimate agency, organization, or business, please take the next step by calling the organization in question. Look up the phone number instead of the number given, then pick up the phone and call the agency, organization, or business to verify. Scammers will do everything, including threaten or create a sense of urgency, to keep you from ending the call. A legitimate caller will encourage you to take the time to verify.
If you are a victim of a phone or an online scam, immediately contact the bank you used to try to recall the wire transfer. Then file an online complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.IC3.gov).