Officials Warn: If FBI Charlotte Calls And Asks For Money, Hang Up
The FBI Charlotte Field Office is warning residents of a new scam that spoofs the the agency's real number and demands payment of money purportedly owed to the government under threat of arrest.
The FBI says it will never call people to request money or threaten arrest.
The phone calls appear real, however, because the scammer spoofs the real FBI Charlotte number — 704-672-6100 — and it appears on the victim’s caller ID. Oftentimes, they also know the full name, background, birthdate and family members of the intended victim.
The scammer then will impersonate a government official to collect money and, the FBI says, threaten to extort victims with physical or financial harm or the release of sensitive data. In some cases, the caller says there is a federal warrant for the victim’s arrest, which would be dismissed in exchange for immediate payment.
The FBI urges people to follow these steps to avoid becoming the victim of government impersonation scams:
- Always be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls.
- Never give money or personal information to someone with whom you did not initiate contact.
- Remember that a government agency will ever ask you to pay fee or a fine using a third-party form of payment, such as a gift card.
- Trust your instincts if the caller makes you uncomfortable or says things that don’t sound right or too good to be true, hang up.
According to the Internet Crimes Complaint Center, more than 12,000 people in the United States reported being the victim of a government impersonation scam in 2019, with losses of more than $112 million.