Threat Watch

FBI Warns Scammers Spoofing FBI Office Phone Numbers in Government Impersonation Fraud

The FBI has seen a recent increase in phone calls that spoof Bureau phone numbers as part of a fraud campaign. Most of this activity has taken place in the El Paso and West Texas area. The callers will “spoof” or fake an FBI office’s main phone number so the call appears to be coming from the FBI, then they impersonate an FBI agent. The caller then informs the victim they are the subject of an investigation and attempts to obtain sensitive data such as social security number and even banking information. In some cases, the criminal posing to be an agent will demand cash or gift cards.  According to FBI reporting, over 12,000 people fell victim to government impersonation scams in 2020, with losses totaling more than $106 million.

ANALYST NOTES

To protect against fraudulent phone calls, be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls, visits, and emails claiming to be from any government organization. Do not provide personal information or information about your organization, unless you are certain of a person’s authority to have the information. Do not rely on caller ID to authenticate incoming calls. If possible, try to verify the caller’s identity directly with the company. Limit the amount of personal information you post on social media; the Internet is a public resource and may be used to target specific phone call scams at a victim. Government agencies will never call an individual and demand cash, gift cards, or banking information. Anyone reading this article probably knows that already, so make a point of helping other people understand that fact to protect themselves. If an individual feels they are being contacted by a fraudulent number, document it and report it to the necessary law enforcement agency. Individuals can report scams to the FBI’s IC3 website at www.ic3.gov. If an individual feels they have become the victim of a fraudulent call or scam, notify your financial institution immediately and place a freeze on your credit. If any password information was given, ensure they are changed immediately.

Sources: https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/elpaso/news/press-releases/fbi-warns-scammers-spoofing-fbi-office-phone-numbers-in-government-impersonation-fraud?&web_view=true