Is the FBI calling me? Nope, it’s a scam

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is warning people to watch out for crooks trying to swindle them by using fear.

Scammers are pretending to be calling from the FBI, using fake caller ID, a strong-arm attitude and threats of arrest to get people to pay them.

A spokesperson for the FBI in Rhode Island, Kristen Setera, said Tuesday the office has gotten a couple of calls from local residents who appear to have been targeted by the scheme. The caller ID will appear to be coming from the FBI office in Providence.

The person on the phone may identify themselves as an FBI officer, and threaten to arrest the victim if they don’t pay fees. Such schemes may ask for credit or debit card numbers, checking account numbers, or by asking the victim to buy a stored-value debit card and surrendering the number.

The FBI does not telephone or email people to demand money or threaten arrest, Setera said.

“We’d like to take this opportunity to remind folks to limit the information you freely provide online, including on social media sites,” she added. “Phone scammers typically use fear, intimidation, and threats to get a victim to send money.”

If you get targeted, you can file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. They’ll need several details from you including financial transaction information.