LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — FBI Little Rock is warning of a scam targeting senior citizens.
According to the FBI, the ongoing fraud scheme sees scammers impersonating federal law enforcement officials in an attempt to extort money.
The FBI explains how it works by explaining criminals initiate this scam by “spoofing” authentic phone numbers linked to towns along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Scammers further this scheme by claiming the victim’s name has been associated with a specific crime at the border linked to a drug trafficking organization. The criminals will then reportedly 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 a U.S. address.
During the scheme, the FBI says 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, the bureau says.
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.
The FBI says 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.
Since 2021, the FBI says it has received numerous reports of Arkansans losing nearly $5 million to imposters who use targeted tactics to coerce victims into sending large amounts of cash through the mail.
The FBI is encouraging Arkansas citizens to educate themselves about this scheme and contact law enforcement if they know of anyone who has been victimized.
If you have been victimized by any scam, immediately cease all contact with the suspected criminals and report it to the FBI at IC3.gov.