April 04, 2016
The FBI's Philadelphia Division is warning area residents to beware of a phone scam that spoofs local Bureau phone numbers anduses pressure tactics.
Field offices across the country have received reports of similar calls, the FBI said. The caller claims to be an FBI agent and demands immediate payment – for school loans, back taxes, even parking tickets. The caller often knows personal information about the intended target, including a name, background and cell phone number.
The scam also has targeted international students, with the caller claiming there are problems with the visitor’s financial aid, and/or student visa, and threatening deportation if payment is not made.
The FBI emphasized that it does not call or e-mail people to demand money or threaten arrest.
The agency gave the following tips to avoid becoming a victim:
• Always be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls
• Never give money or personal information to someone with whom you don’t have ties and did not initiate contact
• Trust your instincts: if an unknown caller makes you uncomfortable or says things that don’t sound right, hang up
Victims of phone or online scams can file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.