NORFOLK, Va. - The FBI is warning residents of a phone scam in which the caller claims to be an FBI agent.
The bureau says it has received numerous reports of scammers calling Hampton Roads residents claiming to be a local FBI agent, using a fake name and badge number to trick the victim into believing the call is legitimate.
The incoming phone number shows on caller ID as the phone number for the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, shown as 757-455-0100.
"This is not new to other parts of the country, but it appears to be new to us here at the FBI in the Hampton Roads area," says Special Agent John Clarke.
Clark says the complaints started coming in about a week ago and there are only a couple of victims. It doesn't appear that they told the criminals any valuable information over the phone.
FBI reports, the caller typically advises that criminal charges have been brought against the resident and offers to provide assistance in resolving the matter.
Clark says the thieves are targeting the least suspecting victims.
"Scammers are pretty ubiquitous in this use of technology and will often target vulnerable populations such as our immigrant population— leveraging law-enforcement authority, or the perceived law-enforcement authority, to obtain a nefarious purpose."
The scammer then attempts to obtain or confirm personal or financial information or request payment for services, court costs, or fees in the form of cash or gift cards.
FBI advises recipients to hang up immediately and report the incident to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
"If you call the FBI back and determined it’s fraudulent, we are happy to take your complaints and document it," says Clark.
The FBI defines this type of scam as government impersonation fraud, and according to IC3 there were 13,873 victims reported nationwide in 2019 with losses totaling more than $124 million.
The bureau tells all residents to be wary of answering unknown numbers, do not send money to anyone you do not personally trust, and never give out your personal information.
For more information about this scam and other online fraud schemes, click here.