Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) – KGVO News recently received an important email from Sandra Yi Barker, Public Information Officer with the FBI Regional Office in Salt Lake City about a flare-up of government impersonation scams, including persons claiming to be from the FBI.
Barker said the perpetrator claims to be with the FBI and that you are now in trouble with the law.
Have You Received a Call from ‘The FBI’? It’s a Scam
“In more than one instance in the state victims were contacted by phone by someone claiming to be an FBI agent,” began Barker. “They were told by the impersonator that their identity had been stolen, and the victims were then instructed to move their money out of their bank accounts to ‘the FBI’ for safekeeping and they were instructed to do so by depositing their money into a Bitcoin ATM that they said was located inside a convenience store.”
Barker said avoiding this kind of trouble is easy by not engaging with the impersonator and just hanging up.
“This is a very preventable crime,” she said. “The FBI and any law enforcement agency will never call, email you or text you and ask for any kind of money or threaten you with arrest if you don’t pay. And so we’ll also never ask you to deposit your money into a Bitcoin ATM or provide us any personal information over the phone.”
Barker said the Number of FBI Scam Alerts is Alarming
Barker related some alarming numbers in relation to the sheer volume of scam victims, especially in Montana.
“Every year, we put out a report,” she said. “It’s the Internet Crime Complaint Center report, and for 2022 over 11,000 people reported being victims of government impersonation scams, with losses totaling more than $240 million. Here in Montana, there were 44 victims in 2022, who reported financial losses totaling almost $48,000. So that’s a lot of money that people are losing to these scammers.”
Read Below to see the Activities the FBI will Never Engage In
Barker said there are certain activities that the FBI will never engage in, including calling or emailing private citizens to demand payment or threaten arrest; you will never be told to ‘wire a settlement’ to avoid being arrested; you will never be asked to deposit money into a Bitcoin ATM; you will never be asked for wire transfers of gift cards; and the FBI (or any other government agency) will never call you about ‘frozen’ Social Security numbers or to coordinate an inheritance.
Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of cybercrime and suffered a financial loss, please visit the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov. or call the Salt Lake City Office direct at 801-579-1400.