Atlanta women with ‘high-paying jobs’ targets of phone scam, FBI warns

The FBI says the scammers use spoofed phone numbers, names, positions and addresses of police officers.
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The FBI says the scammers use spoofed phone numbers, names, positions and addresses of police officers.

Sexually suggestive photos and the payment of fines are not things legitimate police officers would ever ask for over the phone, but the FBI warns that scammers are doing just that.

Women with high-paying jobs and an online presence are being targeted by scammers using spoofed phone numbers, names, positions and addresses of officers, FBI Atlanta spokeswoman Jenna Sellitto said in a news release Monday.

Those contacted may be told they have fines for outstanding warrants, are in contempt of court for failure to appear for jury duty, or could be asked to provide some form of payment (gift cards, bank deposits, voucher purchases, etc.) to clear court fines in order to avoid jail time. Additionally, scammers may request videos or photos of individuals conducting personal strip searches as a means of clearing fines or avoiding jail, the FBI said.

In an email, Sellitto told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the FBI has records of about 529 victims with losses totaling nearly $200,000 nationwide.

“These numbers are just from the victims we have identified,” Sellitto said. “There are likely many more victims and potential victims that haven’t reported to (us).”

Anyone receiving voicemails from local law enforcement officials demanding callbacks should not respond, but instead call local authorities to report the scam. The FBI reminds the public that law enforcement will never call regarding an arrest warrant for missed jury duty, won’t ask for payment to clear warrants and will never request pictures or videos from individuals for any reason.

“Many police departments are likely receiving similar scam reports but haven’t conducted enough research to realize it’s an ongoing national scam,” Sellitto said. “We’re doing our best to work with them and gather information.”

For further information or to report this activity, contact FBI Atlanta at 770-216-3000 or file a report with the FBI at www.IC3.gov.

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