Sheriff Ronald N. Sprinkle is warning Botetourt County residents of a sophisticated scam using a fake Drug Enforcement Agent (DEA or ATF.) A man called abotetourt resident and accused the resident of buying illegal drugs from an Internet website. The scam artist told the citizen he or she must immediately wire him $2,000 in order not to be arrested. In the Botetourt case, he used police lingo and sounded convincing. The scammer advised that the money be sent to a site in the Dominican Republic.
However keep in mind:
Federal, state and local law enforcement seldom ever warn a suspect they are on the way to arrest them. Extortion is a federal crime as is impersonating a federal agent. In the US, citizens are innocent until proven guilty and are entitled to due process under the American judicial system. A federal agent nor any state and local law enforcement would never demand payment.
“Sending money to an overseas recipient posing as a Federal agent also does not make sense,” Sprinkle added.
The DEA does warn citizens not to purchase controlled substances via the Internet which is also a crime. The sites are often fronts for extortion or easily hacked by those looking to make a quick dollar by using fear tactics. “Use a pharmacy,” is the DEA advice. The international extortion scam is widespread. Sprinkle contacted the DEA and an agent spoke to the victim of the scam who thanks to the bank and the sheriff, were able to thwart the scam. The DEA agent sent a scam alert to the Sheriff’s Department.
Interestingly, the resident gave the scam artist the Sheriff’s office phone number. The scammer called the office and Sprinkle had the chance to talk to him last week. After a few moments of discussion, the scammer hung up on the Sheriff.
To report a DEA scam, call 1-877-792-2873.