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FBI warns public about phone spoofing scam

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(KTVI) - A scam of a different kind is hitting St. Louis.  The local FBI office says thieves are making phony calls on their behalf, sort of.   An FBI spokesperson wants you to know the agency is not calling you.  But there is a person or persons trying to get consumer's information and their money according to Rebecca Wu, spokesperson for the St. Louis office.  “The perpetrators are manually and fraudulently manipulating caller ID so that it displays the FBI`s real phone numbers on their caller ID and they`re claiming the FBI is investigating them for a tax violation.”

This is what cyber experts call spoofing.  The FBI confirms it is happening here and it upsets the unsuspecting consumer Wu says. “We had a lot of people calling our offices and saying --What is this about?-- And we told them directly that this is a scam.”

But since it is the middle of tax season, people might easily think it is a legitimate call.  Wu says this scam is one that has evolved from a central theme.  “The perpetrator is trying to get your money somehow or your personal information.  And they do it by either threatening you or make you feel like you’re going to miss a great opportunity if you don`t respond.”

But this is a call you should not respond to, and the FBI has this message for you according to Wu.  “We want people to know that, The FBI does not call or email private individuals, to threaten them with either an arrest or demand money.”

The FBI encourages anyone who gets a call like this to hang up and verify the information with the bureau before releasing any money or personal information.   And if you are a victim you'll find information below.

FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center

FBI Scams & Safety