Scammers claim they're the feds while aggressively pressuring residents to pay into overseas accounts.
Scammers posing as federal law enforcement agents are pressuring residents into giving credit card or other information over the phone in exchange for dropping faked charges.One caller identified herself as a special agent from the Drug Enforcement Agency and gave a presumably fake badge number, an unidentified woman calling on behalf of her mother told the Daily Globe. The person did not ask for money outright, the tipster said.Anonymous commenters on scam watchdog websites said callers from the same Washington, D.C., telephone number, 202-239-5426, have at other times identified themselves as Food and Drug Administration agents. "They're very persistent. They're very nasty people," said Rusty Payne, a DEA spokesman. The DEA maintains an online tip form at www.dea.gov and a hotline at 877-792-2873 for those contacted by the scammers. This scam, likely operated from another country, has been operating for several years, he said, and is being investigated by federal authorities.Many of those targeted by the scammers have bought or attempted to buy controlled substances online, mostly prescription drugs, Payne said. Information from those websites has been presumably shared with the scammers, arming them with convincing information. The scammers have even used the actual names of federal law enforcement agents.Phone calls to the number led to an answering machine with a man identifying himself as a federal agent asking callers to leave a phone number and case number.Some anonymous commenters online have said background noise heard during calls sounded like a call center. Others claimed the scammers contacted their workplaces and threatened charges of conspiracy if other employees didn't give out the mark's information. Still others have reported the scammers have used aggressive tactics and profanity-laced tirades to scare their targets into paying. The targets of the scammers, mostly older residents, "get afraid," Payne said. "They think the government is doing this, and they pay up."