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SCAM ALERT: Government Impersonation Scam Strikes North Florida Residents

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Posted at 1:51 PM, Feb 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-21 13:51:00-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - FBI officials in Tallahassee are warning North Florida residents about recent reports of scammers impersonating government agencies to steal thousands of dollars. 

The FBI Tallahassee office has received reports of efforts by scammers to target residents across north Florida through unsolicited telephone calls in which the caller claims to be a representative of a government agency including the FBI Jacksonville Division.

Officials say that there are many versions of the government impersonation scam, and they all exploit intimidation tactics.

The caller typically tells the victim that charges have been, or soon will be, filed against them, and threatens to confiscate the recipient’s property, freeze their bank accounts, or have them arrested unless payment is made immediately.

If the recipient questions the caller, the caller becomes more aggressive.

They said that scammers then tell victims that it will cost thousands of dollars in fees or court costs to resolve the matter, and the caller typically instructs people to wire “settlement” money or provide payment via prepaid cards or gift cards to avoid arrest.

Officials stress that federal agencies do not call or e-mail individuals threatening them or demanding that they send money.

They said that scammers often spoof caller ID information, and these phone calls are fraudulent even if they appear to be coming from a federal agency’s legitimate phone number.

FBI officials have advised that victims hang up immediately and report the call.

If you think you are a victim of a scam and suffered a loss financially or otherwise, please file a report with your local law enforcement agency.