An old phone scam has resurfaced in Pennsylvania: a robocall, claiming to be from the "State Investigations Department," then informs the recipient that his or her name has surfaced in a criminal matter. Typically, the scammer is trying to obtain valuable personal information "to clear the matter up."
Some versions apparently instruct the recipient "to call immediately and provide information or you will be arrested," says the state's actual investigations department, the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, which warned about the scam this week.
Attorney General Kathleen Kane's office says:
One recent call originated from the 845 area code out of New York. Some of the messages had foreign-sounding accents, but the truth is there may be more than one version, and more than one accent.
Another recent robocall claims to be from the FBI, telling you that there have been break-ins in your area. The voice says "To protect yourself, push 1."
Kane's office offered evergreen tips for avoiding risks from such calls or other common scams - including the recent flood of frauds (such as the "Granny Frauds" and "Mystery Shopper Frauds" I wrote about here and here) that lead victims to unwittingly wire money to scammers. Remember: Wired funds are essentially just gone, so it's crucial to only use wire transfers when you're totally confident about the recipient's identity and honesty.
The AG's other tips included:
If you believe you've been a victim, you can contact the attorney general's consumer hotline at 1-800-441-2555.