Missouri FBI agents warn of scammers spoofing FBI phone numbers in area
The FBI is warning the public about the latest phone scam that fraudulently displays the FBI’s real telephone number on the victim’s caller ID.
In a joint news release, the FBI’s St. Louis and Kansas City offices said a St. Louis County victim was scammed out of more than $100,000 after scammers posed as special agents from an FBI satellite office in Kansas City.
In this latest iteration, the perpetrators said the victim’s social security number had been stolen and used to purchase property, stocks and open bank accounts in the victim’s name. To safeguard the victim’s money, the scammers gave instructions on how to wire the victim’s life savings to the “FBI” for safekeeping, according to the news release on Tuesday.
“It is appalling how perpetrators will ask victims how much money they have in their life savings in order to scam them out of every penny. But they rarely stop there. Scammers will squeeze victims dry by also maxing out their credit cards,” special agent in charge of the FBI St. Louis Division, Richard Quinn, said in a statement on Tuesday.
Special agent in charge of the FBI Kansas City Division, Timothy Langan, added, “These are old scams that keep evolving with a new twist. Because there are endless versions of these scams, please remember this – the FBI will never ask/demand money for any reason. When someone asks for your money (especially through a wire transfer) or your personal or financial information, be suspicious and verify the legitimacy of the request."
Since spoofed phone numbers belong to a legitimate agency, organization or business, the FBI is advising community members to take the next step by calling the organization in question. The FBI recommends residents look up the phone number instead of the number given, then pick up the phone and call the agency, organization or business to verify.
Additionally, the FBI said victims of a phone or an online scam should immediately contact the bank used to try to recall the wire transfer then file an online complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Compliance Center at www.IC3.gov.