The FBI Denver has issued a warning regarding a phone scam that involves criminals spoofing the FBI’s phone number. The scammers pretend to be FBI agents and display the FBI’s main phone number on the recipient’s caller ID. They then proceed to inform victims that their identity or bank accounts have been compromised, and convince them to transfer their money to gift cards or cryptocurrency. FBI Denver has already identified victims with losses ranging from $940 to $13,000. The agency stresses that law enforcement will never ask individuals to transfer money in this manner, and urges the public to be cautious and avoid sharing personal information with unfamiliar callers. If you suspect that you have been targeted by this scam, report it to the FBI immediately.
FBI Denver Warns of Scam Spoofing FBI Phone Number
The FBI Denver office has issued a warning about a telephone scam in which callers impersonate FBI special agents and spoof the FBI phone number. The callers deceive victims by faking the FBI Colorado Springs’ main phone number, making it appear as if the call is coming from the FBI. The scammers then proceed to inform victims that their identities and/or bank accounts have been compromised, instructing them to transfer their money to gift cards or cryptocurrency. The FBI Denver office has identified victims outside their jurisdiction with financial losses ranging from $940 to $13,000.
Purpose of Warning
The purpose of this warning is to educate the public about this scam and to provide tips on how to protect themselves from falling victim to similar fraudulent activities. It is essential for individuals to be aware of the scam’s characteristics, the identification of potential victims, the financial losses incurred, law enforcement’s role, and steps to take in case of encountering such scams.
Scammers utilize a technique called telephone spoofing to manipulate their caller ID and make it appear as if the call is coming from a legitimate FBI phone number. This deceptive method allows scammers to gain the trust of their victims and increases the likelihood of the victims falling for their fraudulent requests.
Impersonation of FBI Special Agent
The scammers pretend to be FBI special agents during the phone call. By adopting this authority figure, they deceive the victims into believing that the call is legitimate and that their personal and financial information is at risk.
Spoofing of FBI Phone Number
To further convince their victims, the scammers spoof the FBI Colorado Springs’ main phone number. This tactic misleads the victims into thinking that the call is genuine and originating from a trusted source.
Compromised Identity and Bank Accounts
During the scam call, the victims are informed that their identity and/or bank accounts have been compromised. This alarming news creates a sense of urgency and distrust, making the victims more susceptible to following the scammers’ instructions.
Instructions to Move Money to Gift Cards/Cryptocurrency
To resolve the alleged compromise, the scammers direct the victims to transfer their money to gift cards or cryptocurrency immediately. They request specific information to validate the completion of the transfer, which is then used to steal the funds.
Identification of Victims
The FBI Denver office has identified victims outside of its Colorado and Wyoming jurisdiction. While these victims might not reside within the FBI Denver’s area of responsibility, they have fallen victim to the telephone scam. This highlights the importance of raising awareness on a national scale.
Recognition of Scam Calls
Although some individuals have become victims of this scam, numerous others have recognized the call as a scam and avoided becoming victims. Recognizing the warning signs of telephone scams and maintaining vigilance are crucial in protecting oneself from falling prey to such fraudulent attempts.
Range of Losses
The financial losses reported by victims of this scam range from $940 to $13,000. These losses demonstrate the effectiveness of the scammers’ tactics and the devastating impact they can have on individuals’ financial well-being.
Victims Outside of FBI Denver’s Area
It is important to note that the victims identified by the FBI Denver office do not reside within their jurisdiction. This scam has reached individuals across the country, emphasizing the need for a nationwide warning and vigilance to prevent further financial losses.
Law Enforcement’s Role
Warning against Transferring Money to Gift Cards
Law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, never make legitimate calls instructing individuals to transfer money to gift cards. The FBI Denver office advises the public to be cautious when receiving such requests and to remain skeptical, as this is a common tactic used by scammers.
Non-involvement of Law Enforcement
It is crucial for individuals to understand that law enforcement will not contact them to initiate money transfers or provide advice on moving financial accounts into cryptocurrency. Any such calls claiming to be from law enforcement should be treated with suspicion.
Verification as Legitimate Caller
To confirm the authenticity of a caller purporting to be from the FBI, individuals should locate the phone number of their local FBI field office and contact that number directly. The field office will be able to verify if the contact is legitimate or part of a scam.
Contacting the Local FBI Field Office
In cases where individuals are unsure whether a call is genuine, it is strongly advised to contact the local FBI field office directly. This direct communication ensures the information received is accurate and from a trusted source.
Reporting the Scam
If individuals suspect they have been a victim of this scam or any other fraudulent activity, it is essential to report it to the appropriate authorities. The FBI encourages reporting scams to their office by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or through the online reporting portal at tips.fbi.gov. Reporting is crucial in helping law enforcement investigate and prevent further scams.
Tips to Protect Yourself
Vigilance in Sharing Personal Information
To protect yourself from falling victim to scams, it is important to remain vigilant and be cautious when sharing personal identifying information. Information such as social security numbers, bank account details, or any other sensitive data should only be shared with trusted entities or when initiating contact yourself.
Initiating Contact with Legitimate Entities Only
To ensure the legitimacy of any contact, always be the one to initiate the conversation or transaction when interacting with government agencies, financial institutions, or any other sensitive accounts. Avoid responding to unsolicited calls or messages that claim to be from such entities, as they might be attempts to deceive and defraud.
Verification of Caller
Finding the Local FBI Field Office Number
To verify if a call from someone claiming to be from the FBI is legitimate, individuals should find the phone number of their local FBI field office. This contact information can typically be found on the official FBI website or through a quick internet search.
Calling the Field Office Directly
Once the local FBI field office number has been obtained, it is essential to call that number directly to verify the authenticity of the contact. By directly contacting the field office, individuals can ensure that the information received is from a trusted source.
Verification of Legitimate Contact
The FBI field office will be able to provide confirmation if the contact was legitimate or part of a scam. Contacting the field office directly adds an extra layer of security and protects individuals from falling victim to fraudulent calls.
Reporting the Scam
Phone Number to Report Scam
Individuals who suspect they have been targeted by this scam should report it to the FBI through their dedicated scam reporting phone number. By reporting the scam, individuals provide crucial information to law enforcement, helping them track and apprehend the scammers. The reporting phone number is 1-800-CALL-FBI.
In addition to the phone reporting option, individuals can also report the scam online through the FBI’s online reporting portal at tips.fbi.gov. This online platform provides an easy and convenient way to report the scam and contribute to law enforcement efforts in combating fraud.
Importance of Reporting
Reporting scams is vital for several reasons. It helps law enforcement understand the scope of the scam, identify patterns, and launch investigations to prevent further victims. Additionally, reporting can aid in recovering stolen funds and holding the responsible individuals accountable for their actions.
As the FBI Denver warns of a scam spoofing its own phone number, it is crucial for individuals to remain vigilant and educated about such fraudulent activities. By understanding the scam’s characteristics, recognizing potential victims, and taking necessary steps to protect themselves, individuals can prevent falling victim to these scams. Reporting suspicious activities to law enforcement is crucial in helping combat these scams and safeguarding the financial well-being of individuals nationwide.