SPRINGFIELD — Don't fall for a new scam involving phone calls from someone posing as a Drug Enforcement Administration agent making threats, the DEA warns.
This kind of extortion has been going on for years, but a rash of calls to people in the 217 area code started in recent weeks, said Glenn Haas, resident agent in charge of the DEA office in Springfield.
In complaints the DEA has been receiving, he said, people say they are getting calls from someone claiming to be a DEA agent who has identified them as someone who has purchased prescription drugs without a prescription online. Or the caller says he's an agent who has a search warrant or arrest warrant for the person being called in connection with drugs.
The caller leaves a number to call back, and those that do are offered a chance to provide an account number or wire money to pay a fine, "and unfortunately people are falling for it," Haas said.
The DEA will never call you asking for money to pay a fine over the phone and would never warn anyone in advance it has a search warrant, Haas said. Any fines or penalties for wrongdoing would be decided through the courts, he said.
"There's no reason for the public to be in fear whatsoever," Haas said. "Only if they communicate with these people, they might get scammed out of $1,000 or so."
Champaign County Supervisor of Assessments Stan Jenkins said he got one of the calls and recognized it as a scam.
The call came from Cleveland, but the DEA doesn't have any such number in Cleveland, he said. He called the number he was left and heard a mention of magicJack phone service.
Anyone else receiving a call that sounds like the current scam is asked to report it to the DEA by calling 877-792-2873, Haas said.