October 21, 2020

Marshals warn public about phone scam

The U.S. Marshals in the District of North Mississippi are alerting the public of an impostor phone scam, where con artists are spoofing the district office’s real number to trick people into sending money.

The U.S. Department of Justice sent out the public alert notice on Friday afternoon.

According to the notice, the scammers are attempting to collect a “fine in lieu of an arrest for failing to report for jury duty or other offenses.” The impostors then tell the victim they can avoid arrest by purchasing a prepaid debit card such as a Green Dot card or gift card and reading the card number over the phone to satisfy the fine.

“Scammers use many tactics to sound credible,” the notice read. “They sometimes provide information like badge numbers, names of actual law enforcement officials and federal judges, and courthouse addresses.”

The Marshals’ office wants the public to be wary of these scams and to remember key things if they receive a phone call claiming to be from their office: U.S. Marshals will never ask for credit card, debit card or gift card numbers, wire transfers or bank routing numbers for any purpose; Do not disclose personal or financial information to unknown callers; Report scam phone calls to your local FBI office and to the Federal Trade Commission.

If a scammer provides a court order, potential victims can authenticate the call by calling the clerk of the court’s office of the U.S. District Court in their area and verify the court order given by the caller.