Telephone scams becoming more commonplace, FBI says


Staff report



CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Division of the FBI is issuing a warning not to fall victim to scams demanding money. Recently the Cleveland Division of the FBI received calls from victims reporting the following occurrences:

• One elderly female wire transferred approximately $173,000 over three-months in a lottery scam. The woman was promised a prize of $2.5 million and an added bonus of a 2019 Mercedes.

• A physician received a call stating that the Department of Justice was suspending his medical license. He was sent faxes with Department of Justice logos entitled, “Federal Bond and Protocol Agreement” and that his bank accounts were comprised by drug traffickers. The physician complied with the demands to pay the fine and provided a total of approximately $188,000.

• Scammers have represented themselves as FBI employees trying to help. In one instance, a lady received a pop up on her computer and was advised to call a tech support phone number. The lady called and was advised she was speaking to an FBI “cyber encryption” specialist, and she needed to secure her money in cyber vaults. The victim tried to wire money to the scammers, her bank was suspicious and rejected the wire transfer request. She then tried to send the money via UPS, the store returned the package to her. The bank and UPS store both notified police.

According to FBI Special Agent Vicki Anderson, no matter the story behind the scam, individuals need to be cautious with phone, computer and mail solicitations demanding money. Government agencies will not telephone an individual demanding money be wired or cash placed in the mail to pay fines, she said.

Individuals receiving these types of solicitations should discuss the occurrence with a trusted family member or friend, look the agency up online, obtain an actual phone number for the agency, call the agency and report the call/pop up received. Report any suspicious solicitations online at www.ic3.gov.

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Staff report