FBI reports increase in phony calls

By Craig Brown, Columbian Managing Editor



The FBI says it has received reports that local residents are receiving telephone calls falsely claiming to be from its small office in downtown Vancouver. Using downloadable software, the scammers are able to make the victims’ caller ID falsely display “FBI” or the local office’s actual telephone number, 360-695-5661.

Most of the victims report that the calls seem to be odd — several reported the phony agents claimed a formal complaint had been lodged against their daughter. The real FBI agents think that the purpose of the calls may be to make a follow-up call demanding money.

The scammers are reported to have thick foreign accents and become angry if their legitimacy is questioned. The FBI says it is hearing from an average of four people a day who have received such calls.

To be sure a call from the “FBI” is really from that agency, ask for the caller’s full name and field office. Then call the local field office (in Vancouver’s case, call the Seattle field office, 206-622-0460) and ask to speak to that person. Be aware that federal agencies do not call or email individuals and demand that they send money immediately.