TEXARKANA, Texas -- The U.S. Marshals Service and FBI want the public to be wary of "imposter scams" nationwide.
Criminals claiming to be marshals, court officers or members of law enforcement attempt to collect a fine "in lieu of arrest due to a claim of identity theft, failing to report for jury duty, or other offenses," according to a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Texas.
During some of the latest series of calls, scammers identified themselves as "Deputy John Garrison (the name of the actual U.S. marshal in the Eastern District of Texas)."
"They then tell victims they can avoid arrest by withdrawing cash and transferring it to the government, 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, or by depositing cash into bitcoin ATMs," the release states.
U.S. marshals never ask for credit/debit card or gift card numbers, wire transfers or bank routing numbers, or to make bitcoin deposits for any purpose.
Tactics used by the scammers are meant to make them sound credible. In many instances, the caller provides 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 IDs as if they are calling from a government agency or the court when they actually are not," the release states.
Those who think they have been a target or victim of such a scam are asked to report it to their local FBI office and the Federal Trade Commission. The Department of Justice operates a National Elder Fraud Hotline, which provides assistance to seniors who may be victims of financial fraud. The hotline number is 833-372-8311.