By Jeremy Pittari, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
A county resident was called by an alleged scammer posing as a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, probably looking for a quick payday.
While the possible scammer never got around to asking for money, county resident Linda Heck said she instantly knew something was wrong with the call.
Heck said the man calling posed as a DEA agent from the Dominican Republic, claiming she had purchased prescription medication from the Internet six years ago, and that she would be arrested within 10 minutes. She admits in the past she purchased sleeping medication off of the Internet using a prescription, but this caller was claiming she was potentially smuggling drugs into the United States.
“They said ‘you would be detained in a federal prison and you would need a federal attorney,’” Heck said.
Before the man could ask for money Heck said she hung up the phone on the scammer and called her daughter. After giving her daughter the number the man called from and using her mother’s phone Heck’s daughter was able to speak with the scammer. The man continued to state Heck and now her daughter would be arrested, but when her daughter began to ask pressing questions the man became defensive and threatened agents would be at the home in minutes to arrest them both, Heck said.
No one ever showed up to arrest either of them, Heck said.
Heck’s suspicions were right, an Internet search shows the DEA has put up a press release on its website that states such scams are becoming prevalent, especially if someone has purchased medication over the Internet or by telephone. Typically the scammers will ask for money via a wire transfer to avoid arrest, the release states.
The release states DEA agents never call the public to ask for money or any kind of payment, and that the public should avoid purchasing prescription medication from the Internet since most of the time that medication is being sold illegally. While there are some reputable sites that are registered with the DEA that sell medication, customers risk the potential of getting medication from the less than reputable web sites that is unsafe, counterfeit or medication that does not work, the release states. Also, personal and financial information is collected and could be used to conduct these scams or the customer could suffer from the fraudulent use of their credit cards.
The release asks anyone who receives such a call to report the scam to the DEA by calling 1-877-792-2873.