One of our patients received a phone call recently from someone claiming to be a DEA agent. They told her that she’d ordered prescription drugs over the internet and had violated federal law, and attempted to get her to pay a “fine” to avoid being arrested. Luckily, she had the presence of mind to get ahold of an attorney right away, and found out it was a scam. Imagine how frightening such a phone call must be! The scammers recently called a local reporter’s wife, who was terrified.
In any case, this is a widespread scam, happening all over the country. The DEA has even set up a page on their website to report any suspicious phone calls. Keep in mind that actual Federal authorities are NEVER going to call you asking you to wire transfer money (or give them credit card information) to avoid being arrested. That’s not how it works!
The scammers sometimes have personal information on the victims, such as previous addresses and old credit card numbers. This may be related to purchasing legal prescription meds from online pharmacies — the patient who was called said that she had ordered medication online about five years ago, and this seems to be a common thread in the stories I’ve read about this today. Considering that these criminals do often have personal information about their intended victims, it can be very scary, but stay calm and remember that the DEA doesn’t phone up people asking them to send money — it just doesn’t happen.
As the patient who reported this to us observed, “it’s an evil world out there.” Stay safe!