Scammers pose as U.S. Marshals

Posted

The Walker County Sheriff's Office is warning residents to be wary of a scam that involves the U.S. Marshal's Service.

Sheriff Jim Underwood said his department received a call Tuesday morning from a Thach resident who had received a call notifying her that her Social Security number had been used to rent a car and an apartment in Houston, Texas.

According to the caller, the vehicle had been discovered with blood in the interior after having been driven to Mexico and back to Houston.

The potential scam victim was told to forward $300 or federal marshals would arrest her and she would be sentenced to a 20-year prison term.

Underwood said he will be notifying the U.S. Marshals Service in Birmingham.

Anyone who has received a similar phone call can report it to the Marshals Service by calling 205-307-7300.

Earlier this year, U.S. Marshals and the FBI issued a fraud advisory after several scams were reported nationwide in which callers claimed to be U.S. marshals, court officers or other law enforcement officials.  

The scammers attempted to collect a fine in lieu of arrest for failing to report for jury duty or other offenses. They then told victims they could 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.

According to the advisory, scammers use many tactics to sound credible, such as providing information like badge numbers, names of actual law enforcement officials and federal judges, and courthouse addresses. 

They may also spoof their phone numbers to appear on caller ID as if they are calling from the court or a government agency.

The advisory urged victims to report the calls to their local FBI office and file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, which has the ability to detect patterns of fraud from the information collected and share that data with law enforcement.