Phone Scam Warning Issued
Officials with the state Division of Criminal Investigation and the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Department are warning people about a phone scam in which the caller extorts money from people by claiming to be an agent of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. Sheriff’s Department spokesman Dick Blust says the caller targets people who have recently purchased prescription drugs over the phone or via the internet. The caller tells the victim that they are under investigation by the D-E-A and threatens the victim with arrest unless they pay a fine. Victims are also often told their homes will be searched unless the fine is paid. Blust says the calls originate overseas, but the perpetrators use special scramblers to make it appear the calls are from inside the U.S. He says anyone who receives such a call should refuse to pay the phony fine and should report the call to a special D-E-A hotline at 1-877-792-2873.