HOUSTON (Covering Katy News) – The FBI Houston Division is warning the public about a phone scam that spoofs, or fraudulently displays, the FBI’s or U.S. Marshals’ real telephone numbers on the victim’s caller ID.
The scam involves individuals claiming to be FBI agents, U.S. marshals, court officers, or other law enforcement officials, attempting to collect a fine in lieu of arrest for failing to report for jury duty or other offenses. The scammers tell the victims they can avoid arrest by purchasing a prepaid debit card or gift card and read the card number over the phone to supposedly 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. They may also spoof their phone numbers to appear on caller ID as if they are calling from a government agency.
The public is reminded that neither the FBI, nor any local, state, or federal law enforcement agency, calls or emails private citizens to demand money, payment, or threaten arrest.
The FBI strongly encourages anyone contacted by a caller who says they’re with the FBI to verify the information with the Bureau’s closest field office. The main telephone number for the FBI Houston Field Office is 713-693-5000. Contact information for other field offices can be found at www.fbi.gov.
Victims of phone or online scams can file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov.