The FBI is warning Missourians about a new phone scam that fraudulently displays the FBI’s real telephone number on the victim’s caller ID.
FBI St. Louis Division spokeswoman Rebecca Wu tells Missourinet that a St. Louis County victim lost their life savings of more than $100,000, after scammers posed as FBI special agents from Jefferson City.
“And they actually told the victim to search on the internet the phone number on the caller ID to verify,” Wu says. “And since the scammers spoofed a legitimate FBI office number, the result of course came back as the FBI, so that’s how they fooled the victim in the first place.”
The FBI is urging Missourians to be alert.
“End the call, look up the phone number independently. Don’t use the phone number that was given to you. Look up the phone number and then call that agency,” says Wu.
In the recent St. Louis County case, the FBI’s real telephone number appeared on the victim’s caller ID.
The scammers told the St. Louis County victim that their social security number had been stolen and used to purchase property and stocks in the victim’s name. The scammers also told the victim that to protect the victim’s money, they should wire their life savings to the “FBI” for safekeeping.
The FBI emphasizes that they will never ask or demand money for any reason.
Rebecca Wu says victims in scams like this must take immediate action. The FBI believes the scammers are calling others as well.
“If you’ve wired money and all of a sudden you think you’ve been scammed, the number one thing to do, and you have to do this immediately, is to call that bank that you use to try to recall the wire transfer,” Wu says.
The FBI also urges victims to file an online complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s full interview with FBI St. Louis Division spokeswoman Rebecca Wu, which was recorded on September 22, 2020:
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