The U.S. Marshals Service issued a warning Tuesday about a nationwide phone scam in which callers claim to be marshals, court officers or other law enforcement officials.
“During these calls, scammers attempt to collect a fine in lieu of arrest for failing to report for jury duty or other offenses,” officials said in a press release Tuesday.
“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.”
The callers may provide such information as badge numbers, the names of actual law enforcement officials and federal judges and may spoof phone numbers to appear on caller ID displays as if they are from a court or government agency.
U.S. marshals never ask for credit, debit or gift card members, bank transfers or bank routing numbers for any reason, officials said.
Central Texas residents who receive calls from people claiming to be federal law enforcement officials can authenticate them by contacting the clerk of the court’s office at the U.S. District Court in Waco, officials said.
Officials are urging those who receive such calls to report them both to the Marshals Service and to the Federal Trade Commission.
“The FTC has the ability to detect patterns of fraud from the information collected and share that data with law enforcement,” the press release said.
“The U.S. marshals hope the information collected by the FTC will lead to possible arrests."