CHURCH HILL — A 72-year-old Church Hill woman reported to police Saturday that a person claiming to be a federal drug agent had called threatening to arrest her if she didn’t pay him nearly $900.
The Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office determined that the call from a supposed federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent was a scam.
Dorothy Patterson, who resides on River Road in Church Hill, told the HCSO Saturday that she’d received a call from a man who identified himself as DEA Special Agent Steven Castelo.
Agent Castelo told Patterson he had an active arrest warrant for her arrest but if she “cooperated” and paid him $897 he wouldn’t arrest her.
Her caller I.D. revealed a Washington D.C. telephone number (202) 241-9487.
HCSO Sgt. Nathan Simpson stated in his report that the caller was not a DEA agent.
Although the voice mail for the phone number he called from identifies it as being a DEA office, Simpson said this is not a legitimate DEA number.
“The victim did not have any warrants on her which was confirmed through NCIC,” Simpson said.
Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said this type of scam is becoming more and more common — people claiming to be government officials and threatening to take some sort of punitive action unless money is paid.
Lawson said the public needs to be aware that under no circumstances will legitimate law enforcement agencies call a person demanding money to avoid arrest, nor will a government agency call asking for personal or bank information.
Lawson said that you receive this type of call, do not give any personal information, don’t send money, and notify law enforcement immediately.