LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Authorities are once again warning the public about a phone scam that could have those who answer thinking they’ve committed a crime.
Michael Riccio of Rolling Hills Estates is once of the latest potential victims.
Had he believed the words left on his answering machine, he’d think he was a wanted man.
The con artist posing as a government official warned in the voicemail: “Ignoring this will be an intentional second attempt to avoid initial appearance before a magistrate judge or a grand jury for a federal criminal offense.”
“It’s a little bit scary to hear the fellow’s words and what he implies,” Riccio said. “The fact that they keep doing, it and they keep getting better at it, it means that people must be falling for it.”
An Internet search of the phone number shows complaints that in the past month the caller had also contacted other people, sometimes posing as an official of the U.S. Treasury and always demanding money.
The number no longer works.
FBI officials say that’s how the criminals operate: setting up shop and closing quickly to evade capture.
Just Friday, CBS2/KCAL9 reported on a different variation of the same scam.
Jen Levinson got a call from a person posing as an agent from the Drug Enforcement Administration, threatening her with arrest.
She confronted the caller.
“I said, ‘Let me ask you a question,’ ” Levinson recalled of that moment. “She said, ‘Yes ma’am.’ I said, ‘How do you sleep at night?’ And she said, ‘Very comfortably.’ ”
These calls are such big problem that police departments nationwide are putting out warnings about variations of the scams.
The FBI says if you get one of the threatening calls, don’t give the caller any money and report the call to police.
To report such phone calls, visit the Office of Diversion Control’s website.