U.S. Marshals warn of national phone scams in Hampton Roads

srobertsjr@vagazette.com

National phone scams have hit Hampton Roads.

The United States Marshals and Federal Bureau of Investigation encourage folks to be skeptical of phone calls from people who claim they’re federal law enforcement officials or officers of the court system, according to a U.S. Marshals office news release.

Scammers have called residents of Hampton Roads and said they’re collecting fines for not reporting to jury duty for example. The callers tell victims they’ll avoid arrest if they purchase prepaid debit cards or gift cards and read the card numbers back to the caller, the release said. Callers have also told victims their social security numbers have been compromised in an attempt to obtain the information.

The callers can spoof caller ID to make it appear as if the call is from a legitimate government authority such as an U.S. Marshals office or courthouse, according to the release.

The scammers have provided information such as badge numbers and the names of real law enforcement officers and judges to convince victims they’re really the U.S. Marshals, the release said.

The U.S. Marshals will never call your home to ask for credit card, debit card or gift card numbers, according to the release.

Never provide such information over the phone, and never provide your bank account number or social security number to an unfamiliar caller, the release said.

If you’re concerned you actually do owe the court’s fines, call the court clerk’s office and verify it before you pay at the courthouse, according to the release.

Victims of the scam are encouraged to report the scam phone calls to the local FBI office in Chesapeake by calling 757-455-0100 and the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftc.gov/complaint .

Roberts can be reached at 757-604-1329 or on Twitter @SPRobertsJr.

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