MIAMI – Medical practitioners and pharmacists have fallen for this widespread scam. Federal agents say it can happen to anyone and the public must beware of the fraudsters’ tactics.
The Drug Enforcement Administration wants the public to remember that federal agents are trained to only notify people of a legitimate investigation or legal action in person or by official letter.
The scam artists are impersonating federal agents by falsifying the caller’s identification information that is transmitted to the victim’s phone and adopting existing identities. Caller ID spoofing helps the thieves to fool victims into thinking that the call is coming from a government agency.
If the victim answers the call, the scammers use clever scripts, fake law enforcement credentials such as a badge number or a picture of an identification, threats, and intimidation to steal from victims. Sometimes they lie about the use of bank accounts in fictitious crimes.
To steal valuable personal information, the caller will use an aggressive tone to order victims to verify their social security number and date of birth. They pretend it’s urgent that the victim assist with an investigation or help to reset a bank account.
The scammers have convinced victims to send thousands of dollars in the form of untraceable gift card numbers or wire transfers. They have hurt victims through threats of arrest, prosecution, imprisonment, and, in the case of medical practitioners and pharmacists, the revocation of their DEA registration.
DEA Special Agent Anne-Judith Lambert is asking anyone who receives a call from a person claiming to be with the DEA to report the incident to The Federal Trade Commission and file a complaint with the FBI.