ROGERSVILLE — If someone claiming to be an agent from the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) calls you at home and demands you send money or face arrest, that is a scam which authorities say is being perpetrated from Nigeria.
Friday morning an elderly Hawkins County couple went to see Sheriff Ronnie Lawson after being contacted by man who claimed to be a DEA agent William Wright.
The bogus agent told the couple they were part of an investigation involving drugs being sent illegally through the mail.
The bogus agent told them if they wired him $1,800 their names wouldn't be released to local authorities and no warrants would be issued for their arrests.
The couple were concerned because they had ordered medications though the mail in the past, albeit legally, and the agent did have personal information about them.
"This couple were really terrified because the DEA told them if they didn't send in $1,800 they were going to be arrested," Lawson said. "I knew right off that it was a scam, so I called the number myself."
The number that was given to call the bogus DEA agent was 786-397-6285.
"When you call the number they'll actually answer the phone, 'DEA, Dade County, Florida office," Lawson said. "A guy actually answers and asked me which agent I want to speak to. I asked for William Wright. He came to the phone and I told him who I was. I said 'I understand you're investigating this couple', and he said 'yes, they need to send in this payment'."
Lawson added, "I said, 'It's my understanding working with the federal government that you do indictments and don't make personal contacts over the phone', and he hung up on me."
Lawson then contacted the DEA office in Johnson City and was informed that this is an ongoing scam originating in Nigeria. It has been reported for several months in Washington County, and now it's being attempted on in Hawkins County residents, Lawson said.
"The public needs to know that this is a scam, no DEA agents will ever contact you by phone asking for money, and if you receive this call you should by no means send them any money," Lawson said. "The best thing to do if there is any question in your mind is contact your local law enforcement and report the call to them."comments powered by Disqus