December 14, 2016
Phone scammers are posing as FBI agents, demanding victims make monetary payments or be subjected to a federal arrest warrant, according to the FBI's Philadelphia Division.
The scammers are spoofing the FBI's name and actual telephone numbers on the recipient's caller ID.
The caller claims to be an FBI agent claiming a warrant has been issued for their arrest, regarding anything from outstanding school loans to back taxes to unpaid parking tickets. The scammer claims the warrant will be thrown out once payment is issued.
International students attending U.S. colleges and universities also have been targeted. In those cases, the scammers have claimed the student has a financial aid or visa issue and threatens deportation.
The FBI says the Philadelphia Division's main number — 215-418-4000 — has been used in the scam, with the phone number appearing on targets' caller IDs. Phone numbers from division offices in Allentown, Fort Washington, Harrisburg, Newtown Square, Scranton, State College, Williamsport and South Jersey also have been used.
FBI field offices across the country have received reports of similar scams using local phone numbers. The Philadelphia Division also warned residents to a similar scam in April.
"Please note that the FBI does not call or email people to demand money or threaten arrest," the FBI said in a statement.
Victims can file a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov.