Cleveland, OH – The U.S. Marshals are alerting the public of several imposter scams involving individuals claiming to be U.S. Marshals, court officers, and county Sheriff's Deputies.
Recently, The United States Attorney's Office in the Northern District of Ohio and the United States Postal Inspectors have been investigating a case where scammers claimed to be United States Marshal Pete Elliott. Scammers have been calling victims to explain that they missed court dates after being served with subpoenas, no such subpoenas were ever served, and the victims were not named in any court case. In this case, the scammers used a publicly available PDF form to list a fictional court matter.
These scammers instructed the victim to purchase pre-paid debit cards to pay the fictitious financial penalties she faced for failing to appear for court. In many of these calls the scammers claimed to be U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott.
Scammers use many tactics to sound credible. They sometimes provide information like badge numbers, names of actual law enforcement officials and federal judges, and courthouse addresses. They may also spoof their phone numbers to appear on caller ID as if they are calling from the court or a government agency.
If a citizen receives a potential scam phone call, the US Marshals are urging the public to call the clerk of the court's office of the U.S. District Court in your area and verify the court order. If an order does not exist, then it is likely the individual is being scammed.
"The U.S. Marshals would never ask for a credit/debit or gift card number, banking routing numbers, or ask for funds to be wired for any purpose," said US Marshal Pete Elliott. “If the caller is urging you to provide this type of information or any other personal or financial information, hang up and report the call to the Marshals and the FTC. You can even report to both agencies anonymously."
Things to remember:
- U.S. Marshals will never ask for credit/debit card/gift card numbers, wire transfers, or bank routing numbers for any purpose.
- Do not divulge personal or financial information to unknown callers.
- Report scam phone calls to your local U.S. Marshals Service office and to the FTC.
- The U.S. Postal Inspectors can be reached at (877) 876-2455, Option 4, if you feel you have been a victim of this scam locally.
- You can remain anonymous when you report.
- Authenticate the call by calling the clerk of the court's office of the U.S. District Court in your area and verify the court order given by the caller.