Criminals have bilked unsuspecting Americans of more than $55 million in a brazen in-person scheme, the FBI warned.
The scammers reportedly pose as U.S. government officials or tech support and approach individuals, claiming their financial accounts have been hacked or are at risk of being hacked. The scammers then tell the victims to liquidate their assets into cash or precious metals, including gold.
After the individuals confirm that they have liquidated their assets, the scammers reportedly send a courier to the victim's home.
"Scammers tell victims they will safeguard the assets in a protected account on behalf of the victims," the FBI warns. "In reality, victims never hear back from the scammers and lose all their money."
The FBI noted that it saw an increase in this type of scheme in the second half of 2023, with most of the victims being senior citizens.
There are things people should know to protect themselves. The FBI says the U.S. government and legitimate businesses will never ask someone to purchase gold or other precious metals. The agency also discourages people from meeting up with unknown individuals to deliver cash or precious metals.
For those who have encountered scammers, the FBI is asking individuals to report the incident to www.ic3.gov as quickly as possible.
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