NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The FBI Memphis Field Office is warning about a new phone scam making the rounds that targets seniors and young people. The scammers pretend to be U.S. Marshals, court officers and other officials asking for money or in some cases threatening people to get what they want.
It can be convincing to a lot of victims. The FBI estimates Tennesseans lost more than $1 million to similar government impersonation scams in 2021.
Nationwide data shows that more people each year are falling victim to phone scams as a whole. A report by TrueCaller, an app that blocks spam calls, estimates Americans lost $40 billion last year.
During these government impersonation scams, officials said people are demanding payment through cash or gift cards or sometimes going as far as threatening to extort victims with physical or financial harm in order to get more information. The FBI clearly states that no law enforcement official will ever do any of that.
If what the caller is asking for seems far-fetched, trust your gut that something may not be right. To keep yourself safe, remember to never give out personal info like banking numbers or your social security number to people you don't know. Or if you're unsure then hang up, find a legitimate number for the organization that called you and then give them a call back.
If you did give money, the FBI wants to know. File a report here.