FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- If you get a call or letter saying you are about to be arrested unless you pay a fine, you could become the victim of fraud and identity theft, the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut warns Fairfield County residents.
Connecticut residents were being warned of two new scams potentially involving the federal district courts with bogus phone calls and fictitious arrest warrants, U.S. District Court Clerk Robin D. Tabora said in a statement late Wednesday, Nov. 27.
In recent days, two new scams have surfaced that involve the threat of criminal arrest if a fine is not paid, the statement said. In the first scam, a fictitious arrest warrant on criminal charges is mailed to an individual, offering a chance to avoid arrest through the payment of a specific amount. The individual is asked to provide confidential data and a credit card number to clear the charges.
The second scam involves a phone call stating that a warrant has been issued and the individual will be arrested if a fine is not paid. The calls appear to be legitimate court numbers, but are, in fact, bogus, as technology is being used to spoof the Caller ID system, the statement said. While these scams are more prevalent in state and county courts, this scheme has been confirmed to have occurred in the federal court system, including in the District of Connecticut.
These requests are not legitimate and do not originate from the court or other court-related agencies, the statement said. Federal courts do not require anyone to provide sensitive information in a telephone call, including requests for Social Security numbers or credit card numbers. It is a crime for anyone to falsely represent himself or herself as a federal court official and such an offense is taken seriously by the federal judiciary, the statement said.
Persons receiving such a telephone call or delivered mail should not provide the requested information or pay any fines, and should contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 203-773-6311, to report the incident. In Connecticut, an individual may also contact the U.S. District Court at 203-773-2140 to verify that there are no matters pending before the court in their name.
These new scams are similar to a scam identified this summer, in which citizens were the target of a phone scam that threatened the receiver with prosecution for failure to comply with jury service in federal or state courts. The threat of a fine for shirking service was used to coerce those called into providing confidential data, potentially leading to identify theft and fraud.
The warning comes from the District Court and the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.