I received a phone call recently from an unknown number. For anyone who doesn’t know me personally, I NEVER answer calls from unknown numbers. I will simply let the call go to voicemail and then look up the number in a search engine to see who was calling (and then look for a voicemail message afterwards).
As I searched the number, I came across a couple of forum threads stating that it was used in a DEA scam.
Given the number of people reporting this on these various forums, this must be pretty widespread and successful. Even the DEA has issued a press release to warn the public.
Here is a part of the press release:
The Drug Enforcement Administration is warning the public about criminals posing as DEA special agents or other law enforcement personnel as part of an international extortion scheme.
The criminals call the victims (who in most cases previously purchased drugs over the lnternet or by telephone) and identify themselves as DEA agents or law enforcement officials from other agencies. The impersonators inform their victims that purchasing drugs over the lnternet or by telephone is illegal, and that enforcement action will be taken against them unless they pay a fine.
In most cases, the impersonators instruct their victims to pay the “fine” via wire transfer to a designated location, usually overseas. If victims refuse to send money, the impersonators often threaten to arrest them or search their property. Some victims who purchased their drugs using a credit card also reported fraudulent use of their credit cards.
You should use caution whenever someone calls you claiming to be on a mission to collect a debt or a fine. You should never give out your bank account or credit card information to anyone if you are not 100% sure of their identity.
These DEA scam artists (or any for that matter) know that the fear of jail, further fines, or the seizure of one’s property can cause people to do whatever they think is necessary in order to make the threat go away. This is exactly why you should never make a payment with someone who calls you, claiming to represent a creditor or a law enforcement agency!
They then had this to say regarding this DEA scam:
The public should be aware that no DEA agent will ever contact members of the public by telephone to demand money or any other form of payment.
The IRS, banks, student loan issuers, and other creditors have all released similar statements. Even the Treasury Department has to go through numerous steps before being able to garnish Social Security benefits! Even still, there are always people who get taken advantage of by scams such as this.
Be sure to protect your money and financial accounts at all times. Being overly cautious and skeptical will help you to avoid losing your money in a scam such as this!
Be sure to cancel gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, and anything else that could end up in collections, leaving you an easy target for these types of scams.
Here is the number to call if you receive one of these supposed DEA calls: 1-877-792-2873
photo by chanpipat
- Have you ever been the victim of a scam?
- Why do you think they con-artists are so effective?
- What would you do if you received a phone call such as this?