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“People have lost thousands,” U.S. Marshals warning about phone scams

Cell phone file

OKLAHOMA CITY – Law enforcement personnel are warning the public about a nationwide scam that involves scammers impersonating officers.

The U.S. Marshals are alerting the public of several scams involving people claiming to be U.S. marshals, court officers or other law enforcement officials.

“These are not victim-less crimes,” said Callen Stephens Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal (SDUSM). “People have lost thousands of dollars to these scammers. This can be devastating, especially during the holidays.”

During the calls, scammers attempt to collect a fine, threatening the victim with being arrested for failing to report for jury duty or other offenses. They tell the victims that they can avoid arrest by purchasing a prepaid debit card and read the card number over the phone.

“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,” said SDUSM Stephens. “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 Marshals and the FTC. You can even report to both agencies anonymously.”

The scammers have been known to use badge numbers, names of actual law enforcement officials and federal judges, along with courthouse addresses. They may also spoof their phone numbers to appear on caller IDs as if they are calling from a government agency.

Officials say you should call the clerk of the court’s office of the U.S. District Court in your area and verify the court order. If an order does not exist, someone tried to scam you out of money.