The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is warning people about a new scam in which people are receiving calls with recorded messages from scammers posing as  either U.S. Border Patrol agents, CBP  employees or Customs and Border Protection officers.  The message says that “a box of drugs and money being shipped has your name on it and has been intercepted.”  In another variation of this scam, the recorded message indicates that there is an outstanding warrant for your arrest.  In both cases, the targeted victim is instructed to provide personal information such as banking information and Social Security numbers.  Often the calls demand a payment through cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, or gift cards.

Some people may tend to believe the call is legitimate because their Caller ID indicates the call is coming from CBP, but, as I have warned you many times, scammers can use a technique called “spoofing” to manipulate your Caller ID to make it appear that the call is legitimate and hide the phone number and identity of the caller.

TIPS

Whenever you receive a phone call, email or text message, you can never be sure as to who is really contacting you so anytime that you are asked for either personal information (which can be used to make you a victim of identity theft) or to make a payment, you should be skeptical.  Never provide personal information or make a payment in response to such communications unless you have absolutely confirmed that the communication is legitimate.

In regard to CBP, they will never call you with pre-recorded messages such as this and will never demand payment in such a manner.  In particular, they do not use gift cards or cryptocurrencies.  If you have a question about a communication that appears to come from CBP, you can call them at their CBP Information Center at 877-277-5511.

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