Are scammers 'spoofing' you? FBI says impersonation scams are on the rise, costing nearly $400M

Samica Knight Image
Friday, May 3, 2024
Are scammers 'spoofing' you? FBI says impersonation scams the rise
If you get a call from the FBI or any law enforcement claiming your ID or bank accounts have been compromised, don't fall for it.

The FBI is warning that impersonation scams are ramping up again in the Houston area.

Fraudsters are pretending to be with the FBI or other government and law enforcement agencies, demanding money to throw out fake cases. People in the Houston area have been duped out of tens of thousands of dollars.

According to the FBI, scammers call victims on their cell phones or house phones. The victim's caller ID may actually have the FBI, local law enforcement, or even a government agency such as the Internal Revenue Service on it.

The tricky part is that it may actually be the real number for that particular law enforcement agency, but the call is actually fake. This is called "spoofing."

The scammer will then tell you that your identity or bank accounts have been compromised. The crooks may even say that they are collecting federal student loans, back taxes, or unpaid parking tickets.

They might say there is a federal warrant out for your arrest, and the only way to fix this problem is to immediately move your money to a gift card or even cryptocurrency.

Scammers will usually follow that up by asking for bank account numbers, credit card information, or debit card information.

The FBI insists that you should hang up the phone immediately.

"The other thing that's really the red flag of this whole thing, no government agent is ever going to ask for money, is going to ask for gift cards, is going to ask for any type of payment or service to stop a law-enforcement action from happening," Conner Hagan, public affairs officer with the FBI, said.

According to the FBI, government impersonation scams have cost victims almost $400 million in the U.S. In Texas alone, officials have said it has cost victims about $17 million, with the average loss at $17,000 per victim.

For news updates, follow Samica Knight on Facebook, X and Instagram.