ARKANSAS (KTVE/KARD)– FBI Little Rock is warning senior citizens of an ongoing fraud scheme where scammers impersonate federal law enforcement officials and attempt to extort money.

“They are claiming to be federal law enforcement agents, saying that the senior citizen’s car was seized at the border and they believe it could be linked to a drug organization,” explains Jessica Franklin, Acting Public Officer with FBI in Little Rock.

Criminals initiate this scam by spoofing or digitally faking, authentic phone numbers linked to towns along the US-Mexico border. Scammers also use spoofed numbers to pretend to be federal law enforcement agencies to lure victims into sharing personal and financial information over the phone.

During the scheme, victims are urged not to tell anyone what is happening.

Since 2021, the FBI has received numerous reports of Arkansans losing nearly $5 million to imposters who use targeted tactics to coerce victims into sending large amounts of cash through the mail.

Scammers further this scheme by claiming the victim’s name has been associated with a specific criminal incident at the border linked to a drug trafficking organization. The criminals will offer to protect the victim’s assets and provide them with a new identity or Social Security Number after they receive cash mailed by the victim to an American address.

Unfortunately, after mailing the funds, to the scammer, law enforcement’s ability to recover the money is significantly diminished.

FBI officials remind Arkansans that law enforcement and government officials will NEVER demand any form of payment, nor will they request personal or sensitive information over the phone.

Arkansans should remain vigilant and suspicious of anyone asking for personal or financial information. If you are in doubt, hang up immediately.

If you are a victim of this type of fraud scam or any other type, you should immediately cease contact and report to the Little Rock FBI by calling (501) 221-9100 or making an online report by clicking here.