FBI warns Michiganders of government impersonation scams

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Detroit, Mich. (WJMN) – The FBI Detroit Division released information on Tuesday about an increase in reported scams targeting people in Michigan. The caller claims to be a government representative, including the FBI.

The FBI advised that federal agencies do not call or email you to threaten arrest or demand money. Even if the numbers appear to be coming from an agency’s legitimate phone number, scammers can spoof the numbers that show up on your caller ID.

According to the FBI, some of the typical tactics include the caller saying charges have been or will be filed against you. They then threaten to confiscate property, freeze bank accounts or have you arrested unless you pay them. Scammers typically ask for money to be wired or provided using prepaid gift cards to avoid arrest.

The Internet Crime Complain Center reported 12,827 people became victims of scams in 2020. They paid a total of $109,938,030 to scammers. In Michigan, there were 303 victims who lost $1,395,174.

The FBI will never:

  • Call, email, or text private citizens to demand payment or threaten arrest. You will also not be asked to wire a “settlement” to avoid arrest.
  • Ask you to use large sums of your own money to help catch a criminal.
  • Ask you for wire transfers or gift cards.
  • Call, email, or text you about “frozen” Social Security numbers to coordinate inheritances.

Scammers aren’t only trying to reach you with calls. Scams impersonating the FBI and other government agencies can happen with text messages or emails. Look for misspellings, missing words, and incorrect grammar.

If you want to confirm you were contacted by an actual FBI employee, call the FBI Detroit Division at 313-965-2323.

To avoid being victims of scams:

  • Be wary of answering phone calls from numbers you don’t know.
  • Do not send money to anybody you don’t personally know and trust.
  • Never give out personal information including your Social Security number over the phone or to people you do not know.

If you think you are a victim, file a report immediately with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

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