Phone scams attempting to part people with their cash are nothing new. The latest crop just seems to be attempting to take advantage of the the government shutdown.
Imagine you answer your phone, and are informed that the government is going to place you under arrest - jail you - for some sort of offense, unless you pay a fine. That's precisely what some overseas scam artists are doing to U.S. residents now. As for whether or not it has anything to do with the government, it's a reasonable assumption that these extortion attempts have started now because it is far more difficult for people to contact the real government agencies out there to verify the information they're being told over the phone.
These attacks have started in the Pittsburgh area, as KDKA-TV's Marty Griffin reports:
Here’s what actually happened:
Several phone calls to Khan’s Peters Township home came from an out-of-country phone room.
“Right now there are three serious allegations being pressed on your name by the National Bureau of Crime Investigation Department,” a recorded message said.
When Khan called the overseas number, it was made very clear that they wanted money.
The overseas phone room operator told Khan that it would take $3,000 or they would come to arrest him.
When KDKA-TV’s Marty Griffin got on the phone with the con-artist in the overseas phone room, the conversation ended quickly – they hung up.
The con worked on Dean Devirgillio from Phoenix. He was bilked out of $1,300.
Consumers are urged to remember that governmental agencies will never contact them via the phone or internet about pending criminal charges, and that they will never require money to keep someone out of jail. These phone calls, and email threats of imprisonment are all fraudulent.