Those threatening phone calls from ‘the DEA?’ The DEA says don’t worry about them

Phone scammers have adopted a new persona, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration: the DEA.

The arm of the Justice Department felt the need to put out a warning after hearing from the public about calls “threatening legal action if an exorbitant fine is not paid immediately over the phone. The callers typically identify themselves as DEA personnel and instruct their victims to pay the “fine” via wire transfer to avoid arrest, prosecution and imprisonment.”

Much like IRS, the prime government bogeyman used by phone scammers, the DEA stated they don’t call people or businesses to demand money. And anybody doing that is impersonating a federal agent, icing their fraudulent activity with that federal crime.

The DEA warns of these scam call characteristics:

Threatening arrest, prosecution, prison or (in the case of doctors) the stripping of DEA numbers that allow prescribing certain controlled substances.

Using fake names and badge numbers or names of well-known DEA senior officials.

Aggressively refusing to speak or leave a message with anyone other than the person they’ve named.

Demanding payment via wire transfer or untraceable gift cards.

Asking for your Social Security number or date to birth.

Helpful Herald hints for dealing with these scammers:

Hang up. Especially hang up if the call includes the phrase “don’t hang up” or any threats about what might happen if you hang up.

Don’t worry about getting the phone number. It’s likely faked.

Remain calm and remember common sense things such as you can’t get fined or otherwise penalized for a crime, even traffic tickets, without some form of court process. So, you would’ve been through all that if you actually did owe the government money. And if you did…

…The DEA isn’t the government’s debt collection agency.

Also remember, not only does the government not demand payment over the phone, it definitely doesn’t accept gift cards as payment. Gift cards are plastic gift certificates. Think about paying Uncle Sam with McDonald’s gift certificates. Paying the government with an Amazon gift card is just as silly.

Anyone receiving one of these scam phone calls can report the threat through clicking here for the online form or calling 877-792-2873.