Marshals warn about scams

Published 8:18 pm Monday, June 5, 2017

The U.S. Marshals Service is warning the public of several nationwide telephone scams involving individuals claiming to be U.S. marshals, court officers or other law enforcement officials.

In one scam, the caller attempts to collect a fine in lieu of arrest for failing to report for jury duty.

The Marshals Service does not arrange payment of fines over the phone for failure to appear for jury duty or any other infraction, officials stated in a press release.

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In another scam, call recipients are told they have won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes and are directed to pay a fee in order to claim the prize.

In order to appear credible, scammers may provide information like badge numbers, the names of actual law enforcement officials or 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.

According to the release, victims have been told they can avoid arrest or claim a prize by purchasing a prepaid debit card or gift card and reading that number over the phone to the scammers.

The Marshals Service urges the public not to divulge personal or financial information to unknown callers, even if they sound legitimate. Actual court orders can be verified through the clerk of court’s office of the U.S. District Court in your area.

Officials suggested that citizens remember the following tips to help fight scammers:

4U.S. Marshals will never seek payment of fines via the telephone for individuals who missed jury duty or have outstanding arrest warrants.

4U.S. Marshals will never ask for credit/debit card/gift card numbers, wire transfers, or bank routing numbers for any purpose.

4Don’t divulge personal or financial information to unknown callers.

4If you believe you have been scammed, report the incident to the U.S. Marshals office in Norfolk by calling 963-5963.