TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi warns Floridians about an increasingly prevalent scam involving individuals impersonating employees from the Florida Office of the Attorney General and other legal authorities. In the past week, the OAG received 20 complaints of OAG impersonation scammers attempting to obtain money or personal and financial information from consumers. The scammers remain anonymous by altering the caller identification, a process known as spoofing, to display the OAG’s fraud hotline number or another legal authority, such as 911.
According to the complaints, the scammers convey the following:
· Tell consumers there is an outstanding debt or old payday loan; · Tell consumers they are under investigation for passing worthless or fraudulent checks; · Tell consumers there is a warrant for their arrest or an unpaid ticket or fine; · Tell consumers there is money waiting for them, but they must pay taxes before claiming it.· Threaten consumers with an arrest or legal action if they do not immediately wire money or provide a prepaid debit card; or· Threaten consumers with liens and wage garnishments.
If a caller claims they are with the Attorney General’s Office and makes threats or demands money, the caller is an imposter. Consumers can protect themselves from this scam by:
· Not automatically trusting the number listed on caller ID; · Knowing that the Attorney General’s Office, the State Attorney’s Office, the Internal Revenue Service, law enforcement agencies and financial institutions will never call and demand wiring of money or request a prepaid debit card; · Never giving out personal or financial information;· Checking and confirming all telephone numbers are legitimate;· Reporting all suspicious telephone calls to the Office of the Attorney General at MyFloridaLegal.com or call 1-866-9-NO-SCAM; and· Also reporting suspicious telephone calls to the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov/Complaint.
The Internal Revenue Service is experiencing a similar imposter scam. For more information regarding this IRS scam click here.