Funny story. Just as I was leaving to meet a friend for lunch today I got a call from a number I didn't recognize in Washington state - 206-259-6363. A man with an Indian (perhaps Pakistani) accent told me he was an officer from the Federal Crimes of Investigation Office and that I needed to give him all my personal information to verify my identity.
"I'm sorry, the federal what?" I asked
"The Federal Crimes of Investigation Office," he repeated, "And this is very serious, so you need to give me all of your information immediately or be arrested in the next 24 hours."
"Ma'am, don't make this worse. I already have your social security number, xxx-xx-xxxx." (Which was actually my social security number.)
"Actually, you give me all your personal information and I will call back to verify you are who you say you are," I irritably demanded back."What is your badge number?"
"My badge number is 72."
"Your badge number is seventy-two?! Oh really. And what is your name?"
"My name is Officer Sam Smith. The Federal Crimes of Investigation Office is a division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation."
"OK, Officer Sam Smith with badge number 72, I'll get back to you after I've had a word with the FBI."
I hung up on him. Then I dialed back the area code 206 number he called me from thinking it would be a spoofed number, and to my surprise, he answered the phone.
"Are you kidding me with this, you really think I'm falling for this?"
"Don't make this worse ma'am, you are in very big trouble, I have a signed affidavit here saying you are guilty of wire fraud and our state doesn't take that lightly."
"Oh really? Wire fraud, from your office in Washington state ... not Washington, D.C., correct?"
"Yes, and if you do not cooperate, I will next call your bank and freeze your assets and you won't be able to withdraw one penny."
"Well, I compliment you on your English, but go screw yourself," I replied as he hung up on me.
I then looked up the number for the local New York FBI office and was transferred to an officer who was very nice. The FBI agent said, "No, that is a scam, don't give him any information at all." I told him that's what I suspected, but that the man -- er, I'm sorry, Officer Sam Smith -- had my actual social security number. "Oh, well, you should call the Social Security Administration right away and let them know somebody has it."
The entire time I was on the phone, I received incoming calls from the number "911."
After giving the phone number and information, I hung up with the actual FBI and called back the fake FCIO 'officer.'
"I've just spoken with the FBI and reported everything you've done today, they say it's a scam."
"Ma'am, this is not a scam."
"And I don't have time for this, good luck with that."
Once I hung up he never called back. But, sigh, now I have to report that my social security number has been stolen to the credit bureaus, the SSA, and who knows who else.
At least lunch was really good.
For more on identitfy theft and other scams like this, the FBI has an information page here.
You can also submit an online tip to the FBI here if you've been victimized.