Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Warns Citizens of Criminals Posing as TBI Officers in New Phone Scam


The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) took to Twitter on Monday to issue a “Scam Alert” warning about a new way criminals are seeking to steal valuable personal information from Tennesseans. The state agency said that an individual – or group of individuals – are calling phones across the Tennessee. When someone answers, the caller, claiming to be a TBI officer, attempts to obtain as much personal information as possible under the guise of following up on a complaint that as been filed.

The TBI also said that the scammers have been “spoofing” with the TBI’s phone number. Spoofing is when someone hides their actual phone number and has a different number display in the caller ID.

One Twitter user commented: “The call came from the TBI phone number. I got one, googled the number and called them back. The spammers used the legit TBI phone number.”

Another person wrote, “They’re also spoofing people’s personal cell numbers to use for their scams. Gotten several from them and others have had some from my number.”

In response to a similar post TBI made on its Facebook page, one user wrote: “Yes I was threatened to be picked up and take to jail if I didn’t go get a green dot card.”

Another Facebook user wrote, “I had one call me and said i borrowed money and need to pay back or was going to jail if i dont go to Walmart and get a vanilla one prepaid card and pay them $750.”

The TBI assured that its officers would not make such phone calls. The bureau advised citizens to either ignore the phone call or to report it to [email protected]

Spoofing calls for the purposes of committing fraud or causing harm to someone were made illegal from the Truth in Caller Id Act of 2009:

Any person who willfully and knowingly violates this subsection shall upon conviction thereof be fined not more than $10,000 for each violation, or 3 times that amount for each day of a continuing violation, in lieu of the fine provided by section 501 for such a violation. This subparagraph does not supersede the provisions of section 501 relating to imprisonment or the imposition of a penalty of both fine and imprisonment

In 2016 the IRS reported that between then and 2013, scammers had collected $26.5 million from 5,000 victims. Some scammers have even claimed to be from banks and have gotten victims to give them important personal banking information. 

As of now, there have been no leads reported by the TBI on the scam calls, nor has the TBI reported any arrests made from the scams.

– – –

Morgan Nicole Veysey is a reporter for The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow her on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Woman Looking at Phone” by kaboompics.





Related posts