Border Patrol Scam Warning – U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Warns U.S. Residents of Prolific Phone Scam
Source: U.S. Customer & Border Patrol
A Border Patrol telephone scam is targeting residents nationwide in an attempt to gain banking information from unsuspecting victims.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and officers nationwide are continuing to receive numerous calls from residents concerned about unsolicited calls from scammers posing as U.S. Border Patrol agents and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.
Border Patrol Phone Scams: Recognizing and Protecting Yourself from U.S. Government Impersonation
Border Patrol phone scams have been a persistent problem, with scammers impersonating U.S. government agents to deceive and exploit unsuspecting individuals. These scams often involve threats, intimidation, and demands for money, causing significant financial and emotional distress to victims.
Overview of Board Partol Scams
Residents are reporting the calls are a pre-recorded message stating, “a box of drugs and money being shipped has your (caller) 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 caller’s banking information. There have also been reports of this same type of scam, however, the caller is an actual person, not a pre-recorded message.
These calls, whether a pre-recorded message or live person, are phone scams/phishing attempts and residents are urged to not provide the caller with any information.
Modus Operandi of Border Patrol Phone Scams
Scammers typically employ a combination of tactics to manipulate their victims. They may:
Pose as CBP agents: Scammers often claim to be agents from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, using official-sounding names and badge numbers to gain credibility.
Fabricate urgent situations: Scammers may create a sense of urgency by claiming to have intercepted illegal packages or uncovered suspicious activity linked to the victim.
Demand immediate action: Scammers may pressure victims to make quick decisions, often demanding immediate payment or threatening legal action if the victim does not comply.
Request personal information: Scammers may ask for personal information, such as Social Security numbers, bank account details, or credit card numbers, to further their deceptive scheme.
The Department of Homeland Security and CBP does not solicit money over the phone.
“If you receive one of these calls, don’t give out any of your information. The best thing you can do is write down the caller’s number and report it,” said Grand Forks Sector Border Patrol Chief Anthony S. Good.
Other Examples of Common Stories Used by Border Patrol Scammers
Border Patrol scammers use a variety of stories to frighten their victims and get them to give personal banking and other details. These stories often play on fears about immigration, crime, and legal consequences.
Here are some examples of the stories that Border Patrol scammers tell their victims:
“You are under investigation for illegal immigration activities.” This story is designed to scare victims into believing that they are in trouble with the law and that they need to take immediate action to avoid arrest or deportation.
“Your Social Security number has been linked to a criminal investigation.” This story is designed to make victims feel vulnerable and fearful that their identity has been compromised. Scammers may claim to be investigating a crime related to illegal immigration or other criminal activity.
“You have an outstanding warrant for your arrest.” This story is designed to create a sense of urgency and panic, prompting victims to make quick decisions and comply with the scammer’s demands.
“You owe money to the CBP and must pay it immediately to avoid legal action.” This story is a direct attempt to extort money from victims. Scammers may claim that the debt is related to a fine for a border crossing violation or another immigration-related offense.
“You have been selected to receive a government grant, but you need to provide your personal information to verify your eligibility.” This story is designed to trick victims into revealing personal details under the guise of receiving a government benefit. Scammers may use this information to commit identity theft or other fraudulent activity.
The Impact of Border Patrol Scams
Border Patrol phone scams can have severe consequences for victims, including:
Financial losses: Scammers often request significant sums of money, leaving victims with financial burdens and potential debt.
Emotional distress: The fear, anxiety, and embarrassment caused by these scams can lead to emotional distress and psychological harm.
Identity theft: Scammers may use stolen personal information to commit identity theft, further compromising victims’ financial security and creditworthiness.
Reputational damage: The association with a fraudulent activity can tarnish an individual’s reputation and social standing, affecting personal relationships and career prospects.
Protecting Yourself from Border Patrol Phone Scams
To safeguard yourself from Border Patrol phone scams, follow these precautions:
Remain vigilant: Be skeptical of unsolicited calls from individuals claiming to be government agents.
Verify caller identity: Ask for the caller’s name, badge number, and department, and request to call them back at a known official government number.
Never share personal information: Do not provide personal information, such as Social Security numbers, bank account details, or credit card numbers, over the phone unless you are certain of the caller’s identity.
Question suspicious requests: If a caller demands immediate payment or threatens legal action, question their authenticity and do not comply.
Hang up and report: If you suspect a scam, hang up immediately and report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the CBP.
Remember, the CBP never solicits money over the phone or requests personal information through unsolicited calls.
How to Report these Border Patrol Scams
If such calls are received, people should make a note of the number and any pertinent details about the call/caller, and immediately hang up. Residents are encouraged to report the incidents as soon as possible. Phone scams can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission online.
Learn more at reporting.AgainstScams.org
By exercising caution, staying informed, and reporting suspicious activity, you can protect yourself from the harmful effects of Border Patrol phone scams and ensure your personal information and financial security remain safe.
About The Border Patrol
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the comprehensive management, control, and protection of our nation’s borders, combining customs, immigration, border security, and agricultural protection at and between official ports of entry.