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Scammers spoofing FDLE numbers in fraud schemes

Reports: Scammers threaten Floridians via phone to get victims to pay

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Don't fall for it! The Florida Department of Law Enforcement reports scammers are spoofing phone numbers of legitimate government agencies to steal people's money.

The reports span the state, from Pensacola to Palm Beach, with scammers purporting to be FDLE members in order to defraud citizens.

Spoofing is when a caller makes it appear as though they are calling from a different number than they actually are. For example, a scammer calling from a different area code might spoof a local number to make their targets more likely to pick up. Scammers may also spoof publicly available numbers of law enforcement agencies or entities like the Internal Revenue Service to give credibility to their fraudulent threats.

Some scammers may call threatening some sort of legal action, such as arrest or freezing of their Social Security number or bank account. They then demand immediate payment -- usually in gift cards, wire transfers or other difficult-to-trace methods --in order to make these legal problems go away.

The legal system does not work that way, and the FDLE does not call people that way. Scammers attempt to prey on victims' fear and confusion to steal and defraud them.

Anyone who receives such a call from someone claiming to be with FDLE is encouraged to call 850-410-7000 to report it.