OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Omaha’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) office sent out a warning about scammers are posing as agents “in an attempt to extort money or steal personal identifiable information.”
According to the DEA’s release, there are several forms of the scam but one involves a story about a car, which the caller claims was rented in the potential victim’s name, being stopped at the border with “a large quantity of drugs.”
The scammers then ask the person to verify their identity with items of information like their social security numbers or even bank account numbers.
Some of the callers reportedly threaten to arrest the victims, request payments for fines by gift cards or wire transfer and ask the victims to assist in resetting their bank accounts.
The DEA provided the following recording of an example one of the calls:
To heighten the effectiveness of their cover, the scammers also use tactics such as spoofing DEA phone numbers and will go so far as to text photos of their “law enforcement credential with a photo.”
Some parts of the scam may change but the DEA said callers may 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
- Ask for personal information, such as social security number or date of birth
- Reference National Provider Identifier numbers and/or state license numbers when calling a medical practitioner. They also may claim that patients are making accusations against that practitioner.
The DEA said:
“DEA personnel will never contact members of the public or medical practitioners by telephone to demand money or any other form of payment, will never request personal or sensitive information over the phone, and will only notify people of a legitimate investigation or legal action in person or by official letter. In fact, no legitimate federal law enforcement officer will demand cash or gift cards from a member of the public. You should only give money, gift cards, personally identifiable information, including bank account information, to someone you know.”
The DEA said the best deterrent of this sort of scam is through education and caution.
If you suspect you’ve been targeted, you can report it to the FBI at www.ic3.gov or to the Federal Trade Commission at reportfraud.ftc.gov. If you’ve already given out information to potential scammers, you can find out what steps you should take to protect yourself at www.identitytheft.gov.