Impostor scams have long been among the most lucrative for scammers. While there are many variations of this scam, the most common variations have involved scammers calling their intended victims on the telephone posing as some governmental agency such as the IRS or the Social Security Administration. The scammer then, under a wide variety of pretenses, demands an immediate payment by gift cards, credit card or wired funds. Being asked to pay by gift cards is a definite indication that the call is a scam since no governmental agency requests or accepts payments by gift cards. Alternatively, the scammer demands the victim supply the phony governmental agent with personal information such as your Social Security number which will then be used for identity theft purposes.
Recently the United States Marshals Service for the Northern District of Ohio indicated that there has been a significant increase in impostor scams in which the scammers call their targeted victims and tell them that they have missed important court dates after having been served with subpoenas. Of course are no subpoenas and the targeted victims are called randomly. The scammers then threaten arrest unless they are paid by prepaid debit cards over the phone.
As I have often reminded you, through the simple technique of “spoofing” it is very easy for a scammer to manipulate your Caller ID to make a call coming to you appear legitimate when it is not. Therefore you can never truly trust your Caller ID. Trust me, you can’t trust anyone. Even though your Caller ID may indicate that the call is coming from the Office of the U.S. Marshal, the call is coming from a scammer. It is important to note that the U.S. Marshal’s Service never asks for debit card numbers or gift card payments.
If you have any concerns that the call is legitimate, merely hang up and call the court where the supposed case and subpoena was issued to confirm that the original call was an attempt to scam you.
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