Scammers are calling USA residents pretending to be Federal Bureau of Investigations (“FBI”) agents. The callers are lying and telling potential victims that they owe unpaid fines and are going to be arrested unless they immediately make a payment in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency, or using other methods.
NOTE: This article is not about any of the "normal" topics of this newsletter: genealogy, history, current affairs, DNA, and related topics. However, I believe every U.S. resident should be aware of this issue.
The scammers are “spoofing” a Hawaiʻi Department of the Attorney General phone number — (808) 586-1282 — in an apparent attempt to lend fraudulent authenticity to their scam. “Spoofing” makes false information appear on a phone’s caller ID — usually a fake local number or, as in this case, a local government law enforcement agency. The scammers use “scam scripts” to try to steal money or valuable personal information.
“Law enforcement agencies, including the Department of the Attorney General and the FBI, will never — and I repeat, never — call Hawaiʻi residents on the phone demanding them to transmit money, whether in the form of cryptocurrency, an anonymous payment card, a wire transfer, or any other means, in order to avoid imminent arrest,” says Hawaiʻi Attorney General Anne Lopez. “These people are criminal scammers. Immediately hang up the phone, do not call them back, and under no circumstances reveal personal information or send them money.”
The Department of the Attorney General is coordinating with the FBI to protect Hawaiʻi residents. If you or someone you know has been the victim of these phone scammers, contact the Department of the Attorney General’s Investigations Division at (808) 586-1240.
Comment by Dick Eastman: There is one statement in the above notice that bears repeating: "Law enforcement agencies, including the Department of the Attorney General and the FBI, will never — and I repeat, never — call Hawaiʻi residents on the phone ..."
If the FBI (or any other law enforcement agency or the IRS or the CIA or the Department of Homeland security or any other similar government agency) wants to talk to you about a "problem," they won't call you on the phone. For minor problems, they will send you a letter (probably by registered mail, return receipt requested) or they will send an agent to your residence in order to talk to you in person.
If you ever receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the FBI (or any other law enforcement agency or the IRS or the CIA or the Department of Homeland security or any other similar government agency) and claiming that you owe money or that you broke some law, it is a scam. Period. No exceptions.
Hang up immediately.