Phone scam warning issued

    Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) The scam artist latest efforts to get your money involves being imposters over the phone.

    The U.S. Marshals are alerting the public of several nationwide imposter scams involving individuals claiming to be U.S. Marshals, court officers, or other law enforcement officials. They are urging people to report the calls to the Federal Trade Commission.

    The FTC has the ability to detect patterns of fraud from the information collected and share that data with law enforcement. The U.S. Marshals hope the information collected by the FTC will lead to possible arrests. These are not victimless crimes, as people have lost thousands of dollars to these scams. This can be devastating, especially during the holidays.

    During these calls, scammers attempt to collect a fine in lieu of arrest for failing to report for jury duty or other offenses. They then tell victims they can avoid arrest by purchasing a prepaid debit card such as a Green Dot card or gift card and read the card number over the phone to satisfy the fine.

    The U.S. Marshals would never ask for a credit/debit or gift card number or banking routing numbers or ask for funds to be wired for any purpose. If the caller is urging you to provide this type of information or any other personal or financial information, hang up and report the call to the FTC. You can even report anonymously.

    Scammers use many tactics to sound credible. They sometimes provide 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. While these callers may sound legitimate, we urge people to question their validity.

    If you believe you were a victim of such a scam, you are encouraged to report the incident to the FTC.

    Things to remember:

    • U.S. Marshals will never ask for credit/debit card/gift card numbers, wire transfers, or bank routing numbers for any purpose.
    • Do not divulge personal or financial information to unknown callers.
    • Report scam phone calls to your to the FTC.
    • You can remain anonymous when you report.

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