On Tuesday, November 07, 2023, it was brought to our attention that a resident inside DeSoto Parish had received a call from someone claiming to be with the Federal Bureau of Investigations. The scammer claimed that the individual was under investigation, and provided a fake Federal ID#, Case #, and asked for information such as the last four digits of the individuals social security number. Since this call was received by a resident of our Parish, the resident seeks to inform others, especially our elderly community, that this scammer went the extra-mile to appear legitimate. We obviously do not want anyone to fall victim to these scams, so here are some tips to consider if you receive a similar call:
– First remember, these scammers change their tactics up often, and certain details mentioned above are subject to change. It is up to you to protect your identity and finances by remaining vigilant and wary of a potential scam.
– Remember that calls such as the one described above are far from normal. Never trust an unsolicited caller requesting information. The first 5 digits of most social security numbers are fairly predictable and easy to guess….this is why they ask for the last four. DO NOT provide that information to anyone you do not know.
– If you feel as though the call could be legitimate for any reason, tell the caller you are going to hang up and contact their office independently. Do not accept ANY phone numbers or emails they provide to you. Research on your own who to contact, and do your own due diligence.
– Note that 99.9% of the time these scammers originate from outside of the United States, and accents can sometimes be a big identifier. There is very little local law enforcement can do to track down or hold accountable scamming foreign actors. However, there is a website where these types of scams can be properly reported. Visit http://www.FTC.gov where you will find a very visible button to “Report Fraud” or Identity Theft.
– Lastly, if you find yourself scammed out of a sum of money please inform our office to assist you. Also, contact your bank or credit card company to start the process of protecting yourself from any future transactions immediately.
Scammers prey on our elderly community the most, but many others have fallen victim as well. Scams can range from a fake FedEx package notification, a Warrant for your Arrest, informing you that a relative has been incarcerated, a fake Facebook Messenger conversation asking for a code because they are locked out of their account, to an alleged virus on your device. But they all have a few common factors that you can EASILY pick up on…
RED FLAGS TO CONSIDER:
– Scammers will attempt to keep you on the phone until they have achieved their mission in getting you to pay money. Their business is made on knee-jerk decisions, threats of jail time, among many other threats. No business or agency should ever be acting unprofessionally by cursing, making threats, or attempting to keep you on the phone without verifying who you are talking to. Simply hang up and block the number.
– As technology improves, so do the scammers tactics. We have seen our share of “I can’t believe they fell for that” as well as, “Wow, that was actually pretty convincing.” Just remember, you are the first line of defense to protecting your identity and your money. And cleaning up the mess a scammer has caused can sometimes take an enormous amount of your time. Verify everything, and embrace skepticism.
Most scammers will attempt to get you to pay money using unconventional methods such as: An Apple iTunes Card, Steam Card, Gift Cards, even Western Union among others. A great rule of thumb is to NEVER pay a penny or give any information until you are 100% confident in who you are talking to. Simply say, “Sure, I’ll pay. But first I need to call my local law enforcement to confirm this is real and I’ll call you back.” Chances are the Scammer will NOT like this response and will attempt to convince you otherwise. THAT is how you determine this is 100% a Scam.
Lastly, you can call our Public Relations Deputy, Mark Pierce at 318-461-0504. I would much prefer helping to prevent you from becoming a victim than to be pointing you to an investigator after your accounts have been compromised. The above number is my cell, and you can text or call anytime.
Be Safe. Stay Informed. Don’t pass judgment on my spelling or grammar.
Mark Pierce, PIO
Public Relations & Social Media
Cell: (318) 461-0504
Office: (318) 872-3956 Ext. 251