BELLEVUE, Wash. - A new scam involving callers pretending to be DEA agents made a Bellevue woman afraid she was going to be arrested.
Ann Childers said she didn’t recognize the 201 area code when she answered the phone. The man on the line said he was with the Drug Enforcement Agency and that Childers better get dressed.
“He said I'm calling to inform you there is a warrant for your arrest and there's a US Marshal on his way to pick me up,” said Childers.
Childers hung up, but her husband, who is a lawyer, told her to take the call seriously while he investigated. When Childers called the number back, the person who answered said, “DEA.”
(The person on the phone said) “’You're going to be extradited and put on trial in the Dominican Republic unless you pay us either $3,800 or $3,600,’” said Childers.
The phony DEA agents mentioned prescription drugs purchased overseas and said Childers had to wire money to extinguish the warrant.
Childers said the stress from the call terrified her because she has a heart condition.
“To tell you the truth, I thought I was going to die that night. I'm not exaggerating. Because this time last year, I was released from the ICU with congestive heart failure,” said Childers.
Through research, her husband found the DEA extortion warning and got the real DEA and Bellevue police involved.
Childers said she hopes others recognize the calls as a scam.
“We all want to be trusting but there's so much weird stuff going on these days,” she said.
The DEA said the extortion scam targets people who have purchased prescription drugs online and that law enforcement would never call someone and demand money.
Anyone who receives such a call should report it to authorities, the DEA said.