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Scams and Frauds

Sometimes being a CBP employee or family member can make you a target for fraud or scams.  The best way to be prepared is to be aware of the latest tricks and schemes. Learn about the latest scams, how to protect yourself and your family, and where to report instances of fraud at

Federal Retirement and Benefits Services

External companies have attempted to contact CBP employees and offices offering retirement and benefits services at a personal cost to employees. Such services include annuity estimates, retirement case processing, retirement seminars, and Thrift Savings Plan advising.

There is no cost to federal employees for processing or counseling regarding retirement and benefits. All official communications regarding your federal retirement and benefits will come directly from CBP. If you receive or have received correspondence from an external company or agency regarding your retirement and benefits, contact to confirm the sender is vetted and approved.

Virtual Kidnapping 

Recently, several CBP employees have received telephone calls from unknown individuals who claim to have kidnapped a member of the employee’s family and are demanding ransom payment to release the family member unharmed. To date, these instances have all been scams.

If you receive what is suspected as a virtual kidnapping scam, it is recommended to:

  • Stay calm
  • Attempt to slow the situation down
  • Avoid sharing information about you or your family
  • Request to speak to the alleged kidnapped victim directly
  • Ask, “How do I know my loved one is OK?”
  • Request for the alleged kidnapped victim call back from his or her cell phone
  • Listen carefully to the voice of the alleged kidnapped victim if they speak, and ask questions only they would know
  • If the alleged kidnappers don’t let you speak to the alleged kidnapped victim, ask them to describe the victim or the vehicle the alleged kidnapped victim drives, if applicable
  • While on the call with the alleged kidnappers, try to call, text, or message the alleged kidnapped victim from another phone or via social media
  • Attempt to physically locate the alleged kidnapped victim
  • Don’t directly challenge or argue with the alleged kidnappers; keep your voice low and steady

To help prevent virtual kidnapping scams, the FBI recommends:

  • Never post news of upcoming travel, vacation plans, or locations on social media or other platforms
  • Discuss virtual kidnapping with family members prior to travel
  • Be wary of providing financial information to strangers over the phone
  • Identify a password that family members can ask for in an emergency to confirm the person is in trouble

If you receive one of these phone calls, you should contact your local law enforcement immediately and ask that the FBI be notified.  Additional information on virtual kidnapping scams has been posted by the FBI Chicago Field Office.

Last Modified: Oct 30, 2023
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