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U.S. Marshals warn of new spoofing scam

Staff Report

The U.S. Marshals in the Northern District of Indiana are alerting the public of an impostor phone scam where con artists are spoofing the district office’s real number to trick people into sending money, according to a press release Wednesday.

“This tactic is known as neighbor spoofing, where scammers using technology to modify what number appears on your caller ID to impersonate phone numbers from friends, local businesses, and in our case, law enforcement, to appear legitimate,” stated U.S. Marshal Todd Nukes.

“While these callers may sound legitimate, we urge people to question their validity. The easiest way to do this is to call the U.S. District Court clerk’s office in your area,” Nukes stated.

The U.S. Marshals are urging people to report the calls to their local FBI office online at www.fbi.gov/contact-us and file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, which has the ability to detect patterns of fraud from the information collected and share that data with law enforcement.

During these calls, scammers attempt to collect a fine in lieu of arrest for failing to report for jury duty or other offenses. They then tell victims they can avoid arrest by purchasing a prepaid debit card such as a Green Dot card or gift card and read the card number over the phone to satisfy the fine.

Scammers use many tactics to sound credible. They sometimes provide information like badge numbers, names of actual law enforcement officials and federal judges, and courthouse addresses.

If you believe you were a victim of such a scam, you are encouraged to report the incident to your local FBI office and to the FTC.

The officers offer the following tips to prevent being scammed:

n U.S. Marshals will never ask for credit/debit card/gift card numbers, wire transfers, or bank routing numbers for any purpose.

n Don’t divulge personal or financial information to unknown callers.

n Report scam phone calls to your local FBI office and to the FTC.

n You can remain anonymous when you report.

n If scammer provides a court order, authenticate the call by calling the clerk of the court’s office of the U.S. District Court in your area and verify the court order given by the caller.