JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Drug Enforcement Administration on Wednesday warned that scammers are pretending to be DEA agents in an attempt to steal money and personal information.
The DEA released audio of a phone conversation between a scammer impersonating a DEA agent and a man. The scammer called the man to tell him a federal warrant has been issued for his arrest, but he can avoid arrest by making a payment to the DEA.
“They have to arrest you. Every federal agent has to arrest you if I give the order to them,” the scammer says.
But the scammer learned during the call that an actual DEA agent was listening to the conversation.
“Sir, this is the DEA,” a DEA special agent says. “If you could send me that warrant, I’d be happy to see that. I believe what you are doing now is criminal, and we are investigating.”
According to the DEA, scammers are making these calls on a daily basis, and in many cases, the scammers are so convincing that unsuspecting victims pay thousands of dollars to prevent being arrested.
DEA offices across the country, including the Miami Field Division, which oversees all DEA operations in Florida, are seeing an increase in complaints from victims. Here are some of the complaints, which were recorded:
“I’m calling because someone from the DEA had called me and scammed me out of my money.”
“I thought they were real DEA and I followed their instructions and gave them money.”
“I wanted to check the names and badge numbers I was given and I have potentially lost $10,000.”
DEA’s Jacksonville District Office Assistant Special Agent in Charge Mike Dubet says law enforcement will never call you about a warrant for your arrest.
“They would visit you in person,” he said. “It’s never going to be on the phone and specifically asking you to pay fines over the phone.”
And Dubet says the calls are likely not coming from numbers within the United States, making it even more difficult to catch the scammers.
“They’re using trunk numbers or numbers disguised as other locations when they’re making these phone calls,” Dubet explained.
The DEA says that if someone calls you about a warrant for your arrest and starts demanding money to prevent the arrest, immediately hang up and then call law enforcement to report it.