JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Federal Bureau of Investigation office in Jacksonville said it has received reports of scammers attempting to target Florida residents through unsolicited telephone calls in which the caller claims to be a representative of the FBI.
According to a news release by the FBI on Tuesday, although there are different versions of the scams, they all use aggressive or intimidation tactics.
The FBI notes, typically, a scammer contacts a victim via phone, text or email and claims that charges have been, or soon will be, filed against them. Victims are told that they will be forced to pay significant fees or court costs to resolve the matter if they do not wire “settlement” money or provide payment via prepaid cards or gift cards. The scammer will then threaten to confiscate the victim’s property, freeze their bank accounts, or have them arrested unless payment is made immediately.
“Nobody wants to be the subject of a law enforcement investigation, and scammers are using that knowledge to intimidate people into handing over their hard-earned money. Don’t fall for it,” said Sherri Onks, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division. “It’s important to resist the urge to act immediately and take time to verify who is actually contacting you.”
The FBI stresses that federal agencies do not clal, email individuals threatening them or demanding money.
The agency notes that scammers mirror calling from phone numbers that appear to be from legitimate government agencies, but are in fact not legitimate.
The FBI says if a person receives a suspicious call to hang up and report the call to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov.
The FBI adds if an individual believes they are a victim of a scam to file a complaint with their local law enforcement agency and contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.identitytheft.gov for more assistance.