JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Drug Enforcement Administration issued a warning Wednesday about scammers who are impersonating DEA agents to steal other people’s money and personal information.
According to the agency, some people living in Florida have fallen victim to the scam. People are receiving phone calls by someone threatening them with arrest if they don’t wire transfer thousands of dollars.
Mike Dubet, DEA assistant special agent in charge in Jacksonville, says agents will never call to tell someone they’re under investigation.
“Our way of contacting a person is not going to be via phone and letting them know that,” Dubet said. “We would go in person, identify ourselves as a DEA agent and then have a conversation with that person.”
Dubet said that two weeks ago, a scammer called his cellphone pretending to be a DEA agent and told him:
“The DEA was looking for me. There was a warrant for my arrest and I needed to call back a number,” Dubet said.
Dubet called the number back and says he was instructed by the man to give his Social Security number and bank routing number to verify the investigation.
“I gave him false information to see how far he would take this,” Dubet said.
The agent said he eventually confronted the scammer over the phone and told the man he and the agency would be looking to prosecute him. He said the man hung up and the number the man was calling from couldn’t be reached.
At DEA headquarters in South Florida, Ann-Judith Lambert is the DEA public information officer for all of Florida. She said complaints about scammers have been coming in daily. The majority are from people who didn’t fall for the scam.
“However, there are some people who call us after the fact, who had a gut feeling something wasn’t right,” Lambert said. “Unfortunately they have been victimized after giving personal information, or in worse case scenarios, a lot of money.”
While the DEA said the callers mostly appear to be going after unsuspecting senior citizens, they are also targeting medical offices.
“They threaten them with suspension or revocation of their DEA registrations,” Lambert said. “That’s not true. We won’t do that over the phone.”
The DEA says to hang up the phone the second someone claims to be an agent who demands money and personal information. After that, call police.