A scary new phone scam poses as a DEA agent, claiming the victim's license has been found attached to illegal drugs.

What Are the Details of the Scam?

Maine State Police are cautioning residents about a new phone scam that nearly bilked a local woman out of $17,000. Officials say the woman received a call from someone claiming to be from the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. They told her that they had found a load of illegal drugs that had her license and name enclosed in the package and that she would be hearing from the FBI, who would likely put out a warrant for her arrest. But, they told her, if she paid them $17,000 the whole thing would just 'go away.'

Did She Pay the Money?

The woman went to her local bank and completed the transfer process before realizing it must have been a scam. She contacted police and Maine State Police Trooper Ramp contacted the bank teller, after banking hours and stopped the wire transfer due to its fraudulent nature.

It's a very scary situation because it's not impossible to think some drug dealer could use your name to distract drug agents if the shipment is intercepted. But, in reality, law enforcement agents are not going to demand money over the phone to make an issue like this disappear.

How Can I Protect Myself?

State Police say if you receive one of these calls or something similar, hang up immediately and don't provide any information to the caller. If you still have doubts about the call's validity, call your local police agency and the officers will be able to reassure you of your innocence.

They offer the following tips to protect yourself from scams:

  • Keep in mind that wiring money is like sending cash: once it's gone, you can't get it back
  • Don't send money to someone you don't know (this includes any online merchant)
  • Don't agree to deposit a check from someone you don't know and then wire money back, no matter how convincing the story.

Find more information on the website of the Federal Trade Commission.

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