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DEA scam hitting Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Someone's pretending to be a DEA agent and may be calling on you soon.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – A strange call, the threat of jail and money made Patsy Arnold leery.

She took a call Thursday afternoon at her Salt Lake City office. It was someone from New York.

“She says her name was Lt. Linda Taylor with the Drug Enforcement Agency in New York,” says Arnold.

The so called Lt. Taylor tells Arnold the prescription she bought two years ago online was illegal because it originated from the Dominican Republic.

“She says ‘do you realize that's a felony?’ I says no and she goes ‘do you realize we have a felony charge and we're going to arrest you?” Arnold recalls.

Arnold soon learned she could pay a $7,000 fine or go to jail. She asked more questions and then the caller lowered it to four thousand dollars.

“I told her I don't have $4,000 and she says how much can you pay today?” Arnold says.

She offered to pay $100 and was going to the bank. But the caller asked her to remain on the line while she went to the bank.

“(She told me) we need to do this right away and I can't release this line, if I do they will come an arrest you for the felony,’” Arnold says.

She became suspicious.

“As soon as I said I'm going to call the local agency she hung up,” Arnold says.

ABC4 News had Arnold return the call to the so called Lt. Taylor.

A man identifying himself as a DEA agent asked for Arnold’s phone number to track down her file. That’s when ABC4 News took over the call, identified our self as a reporter and asked “are you a scam artist?” He hung up.

Salt Lake City’s assistant Special Agent in Charge Frank Smith says this is a nationwide scam.

“It’s been affecting citizens and the elderly,” says Smithy. “We recommend you hang up and call the DEA.”

Smith says the group is an international ring originating from the Dominican Republic. And they are hard to catch.

“They are bouncing calls from Russian and into Utah,” he says.

He says that tactic makes them hard to catch.

Smith says the DEA or any law enforcement agency would never call someone demanding money for an outstanding fine.

“We would never make a call,” he says. “We’d be at your door.”

For more information about the DEA scam visit: http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubs/pressreleases/extortion_scam
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