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Con artists impersonating government agencies

Ken Kleinlein

Ken Klein­lein

By Ken Kleinlein

Crime Scene

ENGLEWOOD, Fla. – I was con­tacted by a woman who received a call allegedly from a state gov­ern­men­tal agency threat­en­ing her with legal action if she did not pay to cor­rect a finan­cial prob­lem that was traced to her.

I told her to ignore the call, it’s a con game.

The Florida Attor­ney General’s Office pro­vided the fol­low­ing infor­ma­tion rel­a­tive to this type of scam:

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 com­plaints, the scammers:

  • 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 arrest or legal action if they do not imme­di­ately wire money or pro­vide a pre­paid debit card.
  • 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 the wiring of money or request a pre­paid debit card.
  • Never give out per­sonal or finan­cial information;
  • Check and con­firm that all tele­phone num­bers are legitimate;
  • Report all sus­pi­cious tele­phone calls to the Office of the Attor­ney Gen­eral at MyFloridaLegal.com or call 866–9-NO-SCAM.
  • Report sus­pi­cious tele­phone calls to the Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion at FTC.gov/Complaint.

Take care, be care­ful, and I’ll see you at the next Crime Scene.

God Bless and pro­tect our mil­i­tary, law enforce­ment offi­cers, and fire fighters.

Ken Klein­lein is a for­mer detec­tive with the NYPD spe­cial frauds squad coor­di­nat­ing with local, state, and fed­eral law enforce­ment, along with accred­ited secu­rity agen­cies, on mat­ters of crime pre­ven­tion and pub­lic information.  

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