Feds: Phone scammers targeting Idaho residents

Posted at 10:54 AM, Jun 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-21 12:54:17-04

The United States Attorney’s Office and the United States Marshals Service are advising Idaho residents to be aware of telephone calls threatening individuals of a pending arrest warrant. Calls have been reported in the Boise, Pocatello and Twin Falls area.

Investigators say Idaho residents have recently received phone calls from a person claiming to be a Deputy U.S. Marshal.  When unsuspecting citizens return the call an automated message says:

“You have reached the U.S. Marshals Service serving the Northern District of Idaho.  If this is an emergency, hang up and dial 911.  If you have information regarding the whereabouts of an absconded fugitive please remain on the line for the next available deputy.  For all other inquiries please listen closely because our menu options have recently changed.  For warrants division, press 1; for civil processing division, press 2; for gang enforcement, press 3; for the officer in charge, press 4; for clerk of courts, press 5.”

Once connected to a person, individuals are given the choice to avoid a federal arrest warrant by paying a fine to settle out of court.  The individual may be instructed to purchase a prepaid Visa or MasterCard, and to provide the number on the back of the card to the caller, according to investigators. 

Because the telephone calls are continuing to occur, the United States Attorney wants the public to be aware of these scam calls. Officers do not notify people of arrest warrants by phone. A valid arrest warrant would be served in person by a Deputy U.S. Marshal or other law enforcement officer. Persons receiving such a telephone call are cautioned not to provide any information and to notify the U.S. Marshals Service immediately. 

“I urge everyone who receives this type of phone call to be very skeptical, or better yet, simply hang up the phone,” said Brian Underwood, United States Marshal for the District of Idaho. “This is not a typical way that the U.S. Marshals resolve warrant related matters.”

United StateIt is a crime for an individual to falsely represent himself or herself as a federal official or Deputy United States Marshal.