Home Travel Phone Scammers Now Posing As U.S. Customs & Border Protection Agents

Phone Scammers Now Posing As U.S. Customs & Border Protection Agents

by SharonKurheg

Scammers are always trying to figure out ways to outsmart the most naive and trusting of us. There are Facebook hoaxes galore (here’s how to recognize them) but scam calls are the worst.

First, it was the robocalls that were in Mandarin.

Then it was the ones that said your car warranty was expiring.

The fake calls from Marriott got so bad that the real Marriott is suing them.

And now there’s a new scam out there – the callers are posing as representatives of U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP).

According to a local media release, CBP agents and officers nationwide are receiving numerous calls from U.S. residents concerned about unsolicited calls from scammers posing as U.S. Border Patrol agents and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.

The residents report the calls are a pre-recorded message stating, “a box of drugs and money being shipped; has your (callers) name on it and it has been intercepted.” The caller is then instructed to press #1 to speak with a CBP officer/agent, which then attempts to get the callers banking information.

It’s typical vishing (“voice phishing” – callers impersonate legitimate companies to steal money and personal and financial information). And for whatever reason, although they’re happening across the country, the calls are especially prominent in the Chicago region right now. Go figure.

Needless to say, the Department of Homeland Security and CBP does not solicit money over the phone. If you get a call like that, CBP says you should note the number and any other pertinent details about the call and immediately hang up and report the incident if possible.

Phone scams can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online at reportfraud.ftc.gov/.

Speaking of the FTC, they say that these types of scams are on the rise. In fact, they report that 77 percent of its fraud complaints involve contact with consumers by telephone. Isn’t that special?

“Please keep your personal information safe, and I encourage everyone to report these calls,” said Shane Campbell, Area Port Director in Chicago. “Tell your family and friends that these scammers are after one thing- your money. CBP will never solicit money over the phone.”

Stay alert, be aware and never give your personal or banking information to an unverified or unsolicited caller.

Feature Photo: Indi Samarajiva / flickr

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

1 comment

derek June 10, 2021 - 7:31 pm

A colleague of mine got a similar call while I was with him. He partially fell for it. I usually don’t listen into others’ phone conversations but I butt in and warned him. I suggested that not yell at the caller (to avoid retaliatory calls at 3 am) but apologize to the caller. Say “I’m so sorry. I want to make things right. I am heading to the police station to turn myself in. Tell me your contact information and I will tell the police station’s sergeant to comply with all of your instructions to arrest me. Sorry. So sorry. I am very sorry.”

They insisted on gift cards, not to go in to the police station. Eventually, they hung up after hearing a lot of “sorry, so sorry…”

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