Joe Dwinell reports at The Boston Herald on a new scam targeting Americans with law enforcement intimidation. He writes:
Scammers have bilked $3.2 million from unsuspecting Bay State residents who fell for a lie that the caller was from the FBI or another government agency.
The same ruse was used in Rhode Island ($412,878 scammed), New Hampshire ($89,382) and in Maine ($32,252), according to the FBI.
“Nobody wants to be the subject of a law enforcement investigation, and scammers are using that to their advantage to try and intimidate people into just handing over their hard-earned money. We’re asking you not to fall for it,” said Joseph Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division.
The warning comes as incessant robocalls and scams continue to increase — from bogus FEMA funeral assistance offers to the ubiquitous Amazon ruse where callers are told they are due a refund if they share banking information.
The FBI warned Wednesday that federal agencies “do not call or email individuals threatening arrest or demanding money.” If that does happen, and if it comes from an FBI or some agency phone number, “hang up immediately and report the call.”
If the FBI wants you they’ll come knocking.
“It’s important to resist the urge to act immediately and verify who is actually contacting you,” Bonavolonta said in a statement to the Herald.
According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, 12,827 people reported being victims of government impersonation scams in 2020, with losses totaling $109,938,030.
In the Boston Division, which includes all of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, 405 complaints were filed with financial losses totaling $3,789,407.
Action Line: Your Survival Guy, no stranger to disasters (see here, here, here, and here), was caught off guard last week when an email said my password expired so I simply changed it. Not long after—I received an email telling me to avoid this scam at all costs. Uh oh. That Southwest Airlines commercial came to mind: “Want to get away?”
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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