RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A scam designed to frighten you out of thousands in cash has the U.S. Marshals on alert warning you to watch out so you won’t get taken.
It starts with a caller who claims they are a Deputy U.S. Marshal and using high-pressure tactics they try to convince you that you’re in big trouble.
“What they do is intimidate the victims saying there’s a federal warrant out for their arrest and they’re going to send a deputy U.S. Marshal to pick them up, to arrest them in front of their friends and family and they’ll lose their job,” said Deputy U.S. Marshal Michael East.
Using a spoofed number, the scammers claim you ignored a federal jury summons and use the name of a real federal judge to make it sound more convincing. They say you need to pay them thousands in cash to fix the mess.
“They’re asking for $2,500 in cash,” said East.
The scammers want that cash delivered to them in-person at the Wake County Courthouse. That’s a red flag because U.S. Marshals work out of the federal courthouse.
Any so-called arrest warrant would be issued federally, not by the county.
“Most people they are targeting are not familiar with the justice system and would not know the difference,” said East.
Real U.S. Marshals don’t collect cash fines and if they do call you about a misdemeanor warrant, East says they follow strict procedures.
“We’ll tell you to bring your lawyer and walk you though the process that way,” he said.
If you get one of these scams calls demanding cash for a fine:
- Don’t fall victim to high-pressure tactics
- Don’t divulge personal or financial information
- Call the U.S. Marshal’s office directly at 919-856-4153 to report the incident
The Marshals Service believes these calls have surfaced now because so many people are getting stimulus money and tax refunds and the scammers see a golden opportunity to fleece you out of that cash.