Scammers pose as DEA agents in latest phone scheme
HESPERIA • Authorities are warning Victor Valley residents to be wary of a new phone scam from individuals claiming to be agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Several Victor Valley residents have recently received a frightening phone call from an alleged DEA agent threatening to arrest them if they didn’t pay a fine of nearly $6,000, according to Sue Rose, spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Hesperia station.
A victim recently contacted the Hesperia station after she said a man claiming to be an agent called her in reference to an alleged Internet medication purchase she had made in 2007, officials said. The phony agent told the woman her reported purchase of an ephedra-type medication was in violation of federal law and the issue had to be dealt with immediately, Hesperia Detective Todd Espindola learned.
The victim was given three options in the matter, officials said. She could fly to Washington, D.C., to plead not guilty in the case, do nothing and be arrested or pay a fine of nearly $6,000, officials said. The fine, according to information given by the victim, was to be broken down into three payments of $1,900 each. The victim was given 24 hours to respond, but she instead called the Hesperia station to report the incident.
Espindola was able to conclude that the call was a scam, authorities stated.
This is not the only scam which uses a United States government agency to try to lend some legitimacy to its claim, officials said. According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, there are numerous scams out there using the names of agencies such as the FBI, IRS and the DEA, just to name a few.
Many times these scams originate from outside the United States and not subject to U.S. laws, sheriff’s officials explained, making identification and prosecution difficult.
The public is advised to always be on guard for potential scams. If citizens think they’ve been victim of a scam, they’re encouraged to report it to their local law enforcement agency or file a complaint with IC3 at www.IC3.gov.
Beatriz E. Valenzuela may be reached at (760) 951-6276 or at BValenzuela@VVDailyPress.com.