Authorities are warning of a new scam where Border Patrol agents would call people to tell them they’re in trouble for committing criminal activity.
When scammers call, they use a threatening tone to induce fear and make people easily fall into their trap.
Imagine your phone rings, you notice the area code of the caller is local, so you answer. In a serious voice, the scammer says that the Department of Customs and Border Protection is calling and you are in trouble for alleged crimes committed in your name. They might also say you’ve been fined and need to pay immediately to avoid trouble, but that’s never going to happen.
“When we have any seizure, that information is not shared with the public, or with any family member for security reasons,” said César Martínez of the Customs and Border Protection agency.
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The agency, Martinez says, has strict confidentiality protocols and adheres to the process established by law.
“It’s a scam, it’s a fraud, we’re not calling anyone,” Martínez said.
If you receive one of these calls, don’t be afraid, write down the number, hang up immediately and report it to the police.
“Report the call to your local or federal authorities if you have the phone number, and the more information you can give, the better,” Martinez said.
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Any issues with the Department of Customs and Border Protection will not be resolved over the phone or through electronic payment. The agency will also never ask you for your bank account, social security, or other confidential information, so don’t be intimidated, especially if you’re pressured to make a payment over the phone.
All government offices avoid phoning residents. If a recording or even a person says they are calling from a government entity and are intimidating you or asking you for any type of payment, that is a clear sign that you are talking to a scammer, don’t hesitate and just hang up.