FBI warning of robocall scam threatening arrest

News

(CBS News) – An old scam with a new twist has con artists posing as FBI agents.

One of the most popular scams often starts with a robocall about your Social Security number. In some cases the recorded message or caller will say: “If I don’t hear a call from you, we will have to issue an arrest warrant under your name.”

Last year, Wayne Chertoff told CBS News how he was contacted by a woman claiming to be with the Social Security Administration. “She said someone was using my name and Social Security number to send thousands of dollars to Mexico and Colombia. She says, ‘Well you have an arrest warrant out there,’” he says.

The con artist said to get rid of the warrant, he had to send $1,400 worth of Google Play cards. Chertoff answered because the scammers were able to spoof a number to make it look like the Social Security office was calling.

Now criminals are doing the same with another government agency, the FBI.

“A St. Louis resident received a telephone call, and that telephone call was from some people pretending to be from the FBI,” says Josh Morrill, supervisory special agent at the FBI’s St. Louis Field Office.

Morrill says the con artists claimed the woman’s Social Security number and identity had been stolen. They told her to transfer $100,000 to them for safe keeping. “The scammers were able to convince her to ultimately wire her life savings to a bank account,” Morrill says.

Several FBI field offices across the country have also warned about the scam. “The FBI will never call and ask, or threaten, or to demand you to transfer money or to send us any money,” Morrill says.

Victims of phone and internet scams can reach out to the FBI’s internet crime complaint center. Time is of the essence. The sooner authorities are contacted, the more likely it is they can recover the money.

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