Officials with the Drug Enforcement Administration are warning the general public of a widespread fraud scheme in which telephone scammers impersonate agents in an attempt to extort money or steal information.
The agency’s Miami division issued an alert Wednesday, saying agents have received information on callers asking their targets for social security numbers and bank account information after falsely claiming they would be arrested in a fictional drug seizure.
DEA officials said callers used fake names and badge numbers along with the names of well-known agents and police officers in local departments. The scam callers also:
- use an urgent and aggressive tone, refusing to speak to or leave a message with anyone other than their targeted victim
- threaten arrest, prosecution, imprisonment, and, in the case of medical practitioners and pharmacists, revocation of their DEA registration
- demand thousands of dollars via wire transfer or in the form of untraceable gift card numbers the victim is told to provide over the phone
Officials say department members will not contact the public by phone or demand money – adding they would only be notified in person or by official letter.