SCAM ALERT: Phone Call from the “DEA”

January 12, 2012 11:00 am · 21 comments

Check this out. It’s a scam that works by fear, and we can see how many people might fall for it.

The following is an email we received from a reader regarding a suspicious phone call from Washington D.C.

I wanted to give you and your readers a heads up on an incident that about gave me a heart attack today, and of course turned out to be a scam.

I got to work today (where I am a temp, and where I’m trying to get a permanent position), and had a voicemail on my phone from Special DEA Agent John Gilmore, and they had intercepted a package that was to my name and address (they quoted my name and address in the voicemail). They said the package contained illegal substances, and that I needed to call them back right away. I called the number they left, 202-280-7128, and got a voicemail thanking me for calling the DEA and that all agents were busy or in the field but to please leave my name and number and someone would get back to me.

First off, I couldn’t figure out what I would have gotten that was illegal. The most trouble I have ever been in is a moving violation. Secondly, I couldn’t understand how they had my work phone number (I’m only a contractor), and knew my name.

I do send a lot of packages overseas to my husband who’s in Afghanistan, but obviously nothing illegal. I hadn’t got a call back today, but was total freaked out that someone had stolen my identity or worse.

I was speaking with one of my friends about it, and she suggested I google the phone number. It’s a total scam, and apparently if you pay a ransom, they will release said package to you (go ahead and google the phone number and you’ll see the info).

I couldn’t figure out how they knew my name and number especially at work, and then realized I’ve got my name on my voicemail message, so that’s how they must have known who I was.

I live a pretty Mary Poppins life, so knew I didn’t have anything to worry about, but also didn’t want to have to take off work to clear this up with the DEA if in case it was a true problem.

My hubby said if they call again and I actually talk to them, to tell them that my father in law is a DEA agent, and would like his badge number, supervisors name and number, as well as a case number as he wasn’t able to look anything up. I also reported this scam to the real DEA and told them I had the voicemail still on my phone at work if they wanted to hear it…

Just wanted to warn your readers.

Take care and thanks for all you do!

This is a huge scam, and we appreciate you letting us know about it. Good thing you didn’t fall for it, and hopefully this story will help a few people in case they get this phone call.

Claycordians, if you’re on Facebook, feel free to share this with your friends by clicking on the “share to FB” link just below this post.

{ 21 comments }

1 Anon777 January 12, 2012 at 11:40 AM

There is another company going by the name of USC that constantly calls my home number looking for a name that I don’t recognize (most recent call was yesterday). I’ve even called the number back because most times I can’t understand exactly what they are saying. I repeat the “case number” they’ve given me and they have some cock and bull story about how I’m involved in writing bad checks with intent to defraud. I keep telling them I am not the name they are looking for and then they say, well, you’ve been warned and you will be served by your local jurisdiction. I said Bring it on, I’m not afraid of you! I Googled the name/number and it is some sort of collections scam, but I can’t get them to stop calling me even tho I’ve told them several times I am not the name you are calling for nor have I written a bad check in my life. Is there anywhere I can complain and have them stop calling?

2 Audrey January 12, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Wow, how unsettling. I don’t know what I would have done had it happened to me. Now I know what I’m gonna do if it happens to me! Thank you for letting us know.

3 Barbara January 12, 2012 at 11:48 AM

A “Special Agent” … leaving a voice mail?

I’d ignore it.

4 no handle January 12, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Contact the real FBI and the FCC.

5 Jeff January 12, 2012 at 12:04 PM

One of the many scams out there…..

Always, Always, ALWAYS ask more questions – you’ll trip them up, because the expectation they have is that you will comply. Never give out your personal information or arrange to meet anyone. DEA agents don’t call you anyways, they show up. And I highly doubt that they would mind you contacting your local PD to verify. Google search the telephone numbers and email addresses before you do anything else.

Also be aware of the USPS delivery failure notifications on email. If you click on the link, you’ll have a virus downloaded to your system!

Stay vigilant!

6 Antler January 12, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Mr. Mayor, this reader surely handled everything well, and I appreciate her telling us about the follow-up precautions she took. Thanks!

7 1BAR January 12, 2012 at 12:24 PM

1) The real number for DEA in DC is 202.305.8500
2) 202.280.7128 is an unlisted mobile phone in the DC area that has a number of complaints thru 800notes.com & numberinvestigator.com.
3) I suspect that this John Gilmore guy might be the same John Gilmore who’s an activist! Check out his websight!

Cheers!

8 1BAR January 12, 2012 at 12:31 PM

@Jeff, Thanks for reminding me! Last year I started getting those emails from FedEx, USPS, UPS, IRS & probably something else …S! Thankfully my job keeps me on my toes. I was suspicious from the get go! I wrote down the applicable numbers without opening the email, and contacted whatever agency directly! Eventually I started to just delete as I automatically suspected BS!

Cheers!

9 The Kid January 12, 2012 at 12:51 PM

You guys would be suprised how much information about yourself is on the web. Here, go to Spokeo.com and type in your name…..

10 Soxtiger January 12, 2012 at 1:11 PM

When you call my house and we don’t recognize the number, you’ll get voicemail. I reverse look up all numbers and if still don’t know who you are, well..that’s too bad, isn’t it, you won’t get a call back from me. Hurrah for voicemail!

11 anonymous January 12, 2012 at 1:29 PM

My daughter and I both got calls from a number in Washington D.C. today on both our cell phones. We didn’t answer them, we just clicked the off button. The number was 202-599-8470. I googled it, and a lot of people were called today. Some answered, it is a SCAM. Wanted you to take a survey and in return you will get a free cruise or what ever. Don’t answer these calls, or return their message if they leave on. If you answer and they don’t talk, well, they have confirmed that it is a working number with a LIVE person that answers it. Congratulations, you are now on “the list.” Expect more calls.

12 Triple Canopy January 12, 2012 at 1:51 PM

If it is too good to be true, then it is!

I got a call once from some Indian dude telling me my PC could be infected and to log on to some website. I baited and played with the guy’s head by playing dumb before I layed into him. It was refreshing and a little payback from little ol’ me. Hehehehehe…

13 Barbara January 12, 2012 at 2:07 PM

The Kid January 12, 2012 at 12:51 pm
“You guys would be suprised how much information about yourself is on the web. Here, go to Spokeo.com and type in your name….”

You’d actually be surprised about how much FALSE information there is about you on these search engines. Spokeo. com has a class-action filed against them.. I ZabaSearch’ed myself and discovered that not only do I “live” in cities I never been to, I even have several homes in Colorado. Never been there; have no relatives there. The search engine that links on to Zabasearch is Intelius. And they have countless complaints, too. So, I’ve filed complaint with the FTC (and contacted the law firm with the case against spokeo.com.).

Be very, VERY careful with these search engines that supposedly provide you a wealth of information for a low cost. What they are doing is TAKING your information for a low cost and falsely circulating it.

14 anon January 12, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Great. Another way people are being victimized by the war on drugs.

15 G January 12, 2012 at 3:15 PM

“Secondly, I couldn’t understand how they had my work phone number …”
Key may be who you gave your work number to perhaps the shipping company as a contact number, if so the shipping company has at the very least a security leak.

@Anon777 I believe by federal law they are required to provide you the name of the company, their physical address, a valid business phone number and the name of the person you are talking to. I demand that info when I get those calls and they provide it. Also mention filing a complaint with the CA state attorney generals office if they call again, … no more calls.

16 Barbara January 12, 2012 at 5:49 PM

And, as an FYI to anyone who receives ongoing sales calls, you might want to register with FTC’s Do Not Call registry:

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/phonefraud/register.shtml

17 Lorita January 12, 2012 at 8:26 PM

I was the user who reported this and had never given out my work number to ANYONE, nor had I ordered anything execpt christmas items from a few stores, but again, no work number. However, I did report it to my company, and when I was looking up the information again, I found this on the official DEA website:

http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubs/pressreleases/extortion_scam.htm

18 Barbara January 12, 2012 at 9:32 PM

@Lorita January 12, 2012 at 8:26 pm

This type of activity is really not that uncommon. My work number is very retrievable simply because I’m with a public agency. If you open the Internet at work, that’s just one way how they can get your work number. Maybe the workplace needs a better virus/spyware program.

It also could have been the result of a company you ordered from, and which had to deal with the virus.

I receive an average of 50 to 100 spams at work per day (and, fortunately, the program we have blocks them).

If you don’t recognize the sender, don’t open it. And never disclose any personal information if the address of the web server doesn’t start with https:// (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure). Always look for that “s.” It ensures that the communication is encrypted.

If you are still uncomfortable — call them.

19 TinFoiler January 12, 2012 at 9:55 PM

You can’t control what illegal stuff a stranger attempts to send to you. It sounds like a good way to set a person up. Need to go after the SENDER.

20 Mark January 13, 2012 at 2:04 PM

I received a call from the 2025998470 number in my cell. As my cell is hard to get, i suspect this is a random dialer that seeks only to get a return call to validate which numbers are live. Thanks to others who posted about this scam, which is how i found out it was. I am adding to this page in the hope it will elevate higher in search results so others will know to avoid the call.

21 Anon-E-Cat January 14, 2012 at 8:58 PM

I didn’t get a phone call from a DC but I got a call from a local number that just played music and then disconnected.

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