The FBI in Little Rock says Arkansans have fallen for this one fraud scheme to the tune of around $5 million since 2021. The scammers impersonate federal law enforcement officials and attempt to extort money.
HOW THE SCAM WORKS
Criminals initiate this scam by spoofing (digitally faking) authentic phone numbers linked to towns along the US-Mexico border. Scammers also use spoofed numbers to pretend to be federal law enforcement agencies. They lure victims into sharing personal and financial information over the phone.
Scammers also may claim the victim’s name has been associated with a specific criminal incident at the border, linked to a drug trafficking organization. The criminals will offer to protect the victim’s assets and provide them with a new identity or Social Security Number after they receive cash mailed by the victim to an American address.
During the scheme, victims are urged not to tell anyone what is happening. Unfortunately, after mailing the funds, to the scammer, law enforcement’s ability to recover the money is significantly diminished.
Law enforcement and government officials will NEVER demand any form of payment, nor will they request personal or sensitive information over the phone. Any legitimate investigation or legal action is always conducted in person or by official letter. Arkansans should remain vigilant and suspicious of anyone – regardless of who they claim to be – asking for personal or financial information. If you are in doubt, hang up.
IF YOU ARE A VICTIM
Arkansas residents who have been victimized by any scam should immediately cease all contact with the suspected criminals and report it to the FBI at www.ic3.gov.