Crime - Sacto 911

FBI warns of scammers claiming to be government agents

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The FBI warns Sacramento-area residents to be wary of telephone calls from people claiming to represent government agencies.

The FBI’s Sacramento field office has received numerous reports of people impersonating government employees in an effort to scam the public. The unsolicited calls are placed by criminals who claim to be representatives of the FBI or other government agencies and make demands for money, according to an FBI news release.

Several people who received the calls stated that caller ID information falsely showed that the call originated from an FBI office and the caller told the victim to check the internet to verify the number, officials said.

In some cases, officials said, caller ID information was replicated to make it appear that calls originated from a federal agency’s legitimate phone number.

The FBI stressed that federal agencies do not call or email individuals to collect money.

Government impersonation scams vary, but most use intimidation tactics to coerce victims to hastily provide personal information or money, officials said. During calls, scammers often tell victims that charges have or will soon be filed against them, and arrest or confiscation or property is imminent unless payment is made immediately by prepaid credit card or gift card. Often, if the person receiving the call questions the caller about the authenticity of the call, the caller becomes more aggressive, authorities said.

The FBI advises people to always use caution when receiving unsolicited calls and to never give personal information to the callers. People receiving scam calls are advised to immediately hang up and report the call. All types of telephone fraud schemes and scams can be reported online to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, www.ic3.gov/complaint/splash.aspx.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

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