Scammers target Wisconsin residents with package scheme

Scammers impersonating U.S. Customs and Border Protection are targeting Wisconsin residents, according to a May 24 news release from the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin. Posing as customs and border protection agents, the scammers claim to have intercepted a package addressed to the victim. The scam is run in two different formats, both aimed at getting access to the victim’s personal information and bank account.

In version one, victims receive a call, email or text claiming U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has intercepted a suspicious package addressed to the victim containing drugs, weapons, cash or other contraband. The victim is instructed to respond immediately or a warrant will be issued for their arrest. The “officer” asks for personal information to “verify your identity,” but it’s just a ruse to steal the victim’s identity.

Version two involves the fake customs agent saying they have intercepted a package addressed to the victim containing a massive sweepstakes prize. To receive their winnings, the victim is asked to pay a huge fee for special shipping labels.

The contacts may sound official or make threats, but victims should not respond. To avoid these scam attempts, the BBB encourages people to do the following:

  • Beware of unsolicited calls, texts and emails. No matter who they say they are, stay cautious, and don’t give out your personal information.

  • Think it’s a government official calling? Think again. Government agencies typically reach out by mail, so they’re unlikely to contact you by phone, email or text message.

  • Do not trust a name or badge number. Multiple consumers told the BBB that the scammer provided a name and badge number. This is just an attempt to gain your trust.

  • Ignore it! The U.S. Customs and Border Protection advises anyone who encounters this scam to hang up or ignore the message.

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