Scammers invent new ways of defrauding their victims every other day. How would you react if someone calls you claiming to be an FBI agent demanding for payment of outstanding bills? Criminals make such calls claiming to be authorized to collect your outstanding student loans, taxes, or any other bill. The caller will tell you that they have a federal warrant to arrest if you fail to pay the bill immediately.
FBI impostors are not new in the United States. Criminals have been using this trick for many years. They target all categories of citizens from students to senior citizens. The criminals use caller ID spoofing techniques such that their caller ID appears as real FBI telephone numbers. It is easy for victims to fall prey when an FBI phone number appears on their phone screen.
The scam starts with a cold call from a stranger who claims to be an FBI agent. The stranger will give you a badge number to sound legitimate. Most callers claim to be authorized by a government authority to collect money from you on behalf of the authority.
The caller may claim to collect payment on behalf of the US Department of Education for a student loan or IRS for missed tax payments. The two government authorities are commonly used in these scams. Immigrants are a major target for these scammers because some do not have proper documents. The callers pose as officials from the US Department of Homeland Security.
FBI scam callers threaten to arrest their victims if they do not pay their outstanding bill or fine immediately. For the immigrants, the criminals threaten the victims with immediate deportation to their countries of origin. The purpose of issuing such threats is to make you pay in fear without asking further questions about the situation. You transfer money to the scammer without confirming the legitimacy of their call with the cited authority.
There are several signs that can help you identify a scam FBI call. One of the facts you should be aware of is that the FBI does not make cold calls to demand payments on behalf of government authorities. One of the signs to look out for when you get a strange call is a demand for an immediate payment using your prepaid debit card or wire transfer. No one should miss this red flag
Scammers prefer the two methods of payment because the payments are untraceable. The victim has no evidence to file a claim of fraud. Hence, the victim will never recover the lost money.
If you receive a call from a stranger claiming to be working for the FBI, disconnect the call immediately. Do not panic or continue to listen to the caller’s threats. You can tell the nature of the call when the caller mentions anything to do with an unpaid bill or fine. Ensure that you report the case to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Your report may protect another unsuspecting victim.