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New scam uses fake court documents

Seeks “Preemptive Bail” payments

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The U.S. government is warning the public of a new scam utilizing fake court documents, fake government correspondence and false charges under COVID relief programs to solicit “preemptive bail” payments.

That’s the word from United States Attorney Robert J. Troester, Anand Ramlall, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC OIG), and David Thompson, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service (USSS) Oklahoma City Field Office.

With this scam, imposters pose as law enforcement officers and send text messages to a target recipient.

These messages may include images of fake federal court documents that falsely assert criminal fraud charges against the recipient arising from the Paycheck Protection Program and/or the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The fake federal court notice may also advise the target that they can avoid arrest by paying “preemptive bail bond.”

In addition to fake federal court documents, the scam may involve images of fake correspondence from the FDIC OIG and FDIC Legal Division which purports to explain the “preemptive bail opportunity.”

The public is reminded if you receive any communication purportedly from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FDIC OIG, or the federal court asking for sensitive personal information, or demanding payment through gift cards, wire transfers, or digital currency – DO NOT TRANSMIT MONEY OR SHARE PERSONAL INFORMATION. 

Instead, the public is encouraged to contact the appropriate authorities with the information below.

“These fraudsters utilize fear and pressure tactics to create a sense of urgency in their victims and often prey on the most vulnerable in our society,” Troester said.

“If you are contacted by someone who demands payment or private information, do not engage. Instead, report the incident to law enforcement.

“Scammers such as these may use the FDIC or FDIC OIG logo and seal to make their demand for funds appear legitimate” Ramlall said. “The FDIC OIG reminds the public that the FDIC and FDIC OIG will not send unsolicited correspondence that requests sensitive personal information or demands payment through gift cards, wire transfers, or digital currency. Such correspondence should be reported to the FDIC OIG hotline.”

“Criminals constantly find ways to use technology and communication platforms to commit fraud.  The Secret Service is at the forefront of both combating financial fraud and educating the public about financial fraud,” Thompson said. “Please contact the Secret Service if you are a victim of a scam or if you have information regarding such scams.”

If you have been a victim of a related scams or would like additional information on identifying similar scams and how to report them, please refer to the following:

FDIC OIG Hotline at https://www.fdicoig.gov/oig-hotline or 1-800-964-FDIC. The OIG reviews all allegations and will investigate a matter in appropriate circumstances.

Individuals contacting the Hotline via the website can report information openly, confidentially, or anonymously.

Please also see https://www.fdicoig.gov/sites/default/files/document/2022-08/oigimpersonationscamflyer.pdf.

USA.gov website “Scams and Fraud” at https://www.usa.gov/scams-and-fraud which will help identify where to report different types of scams.

United States Courts website on Federal Court Scams at https://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/federal-courts-public/federal-court-scams.

United States Secret Service Oklahoma City Field Office at 405-272-0630 or visit the U.S. Secret Service website at https://www.secretservice.gov/.    

United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma at 405-553-8700.

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