Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — The FBI’s Boston office is warning New Englanders about scammers claiming to be a government official and using intimidation or threats to get money from victims.

The office said it’s seeing a rise in the number of reports of the scam from its coverage area, which includes Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

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It says the scammers typically claim to be calling from a government agency. They threaten to confiscate property, freeze bank accounts, or have people arrested unless payment is made through a wire transfer or prepaid or gift cards.

The FBI stressed that federal agencies do not call or e-mail people threatening arrest or demanding money. The agency said residents should hang up and report the call, even if it appears to be coming from an agency’s legitimate phone number.

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More than 400 complaints of such scams were filed in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island last year, with financial losses totaling $3.8 million, the office said.

The majority of those cases were in Massachusetts, where 270 victims reported financial losses totaling $3.2 million from government impersonation scams, according to the FBI.

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