Con artists are spoofing phone numbers from U.S. marshals to scam people out of money, the Marshals Service warned Friday.
"This tactic is known as neighbor spoofing, where scammers using technology to modify what number appears on your caller ID to impersonate phone numbers from friends, local businesses, and in our case, law enforcement, to appear legit," Janelle Hohnke, chief deputy of the U.S. Marshals Service for Minnesota, said in a statement.
The impostors try to collect a fine in lieu of an arrest for failing to report to jury duty or other offenses.
The scammers tell victims they can buy a prepaid debit card or gift card to avoid fines.
The victims are then asked to read the card numbers to the scammers over the phone.
U.S. marshals should never ask for credit cards, gift cards, wire transfers or bank routing numbers.
To sound credible, the scammers have provided badge numbers, names of actual law enforcement officials and federal judges, and courthouse addresses, according to the Marshals Service.
Hohnke said her office has received hundreds of calls nationwide from people inquiring why the marshals want money from them.
Anyone who has received a suspected call can report it to their local FBI office and the Federal Trade Commission.