Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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November 9, 2012

Public warned of phone scam threatening fines, arrests for illegal online drug sales

By LIBBY CLUETT

A recent voicemail message nearly “scared the life” out of a local resident, according to Precinct 5 Constable Gary Morris, who investigated the issue claiming the resident was in trouble for purchasing illegal drugs.

He said the resident, who lives north of Mineral Wells, contacted Morris earlier in the week to check the veracity of the message on her answering machine from a “DEA officer,” since she was sure she didn’t do anything illicit to elicit a call from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

The message, Morris said, stated the female caller was Lt. Lynn Taylor, a DEA agent, and informed the Mineral Wells resident there was a warrant for her arrest for purchasing something online that was illegal and that she faced prison.

“She’s a good girl … it scared the life out of her,” Morris told the Index, after he checked into the claim, by calling the phone number given, (914) 908-4262, and determined it was “bogus.”

He said the caller left this phone number and he suspects that, if the resident called back, the Lt. Taylor would “work toward [obtaining] personal information.”

When he called the phone number, he said it rang three times before an answering machine came on with a recording made by a woman “in a New Yorker voice.”

“It was ridiculous,” Morris said about the message, which he said is not what one would get when calling the USDEA.

He left a message that he wanted to talk to Lt. Taylor and asked her to call back. Later that day, he said he received three return calls from the same number, but when he answered his phone he said there was no response on the other end.

Morris didn’t stop there. He worked with the phone operator and discovered this phone number “doesn’t exist in the system.”

“In my opinion, I’m 100 percent convinced it’s bogus and they are trying to steer people … into getting information [from them] for identity theft, bank accounts or credit cards,” he said.

Morris said the Mineral Wells resident receiving the call hadn’t made recent Internet purchases and did not do anything out of her normal routine to become a target for a scam.

In an online search for the same number, one individual reported receiving a similar call from a DEA agent named Lt. Lynn Taylor on Oct. 31.

“She informed me there was a warrant for my arrest and I was looking at 18 [months] to three [years] in prison for receiving drugs illegally,” stated the individual reporting the scam at the website 800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-914-908-4262.

“She further stated these drugs were actually cocaine with a candy coating. She said she could ‘work’ with the agents in the Dominican Republic to see if anything could be done for me since this was my ‘first offense.’ I let her talk on and on. Initially she demanded $7,000. I let her know I was UPSET. She asked me to hold, again came back on the line and said the fine could be reduced to $5,000 if I would pay it immediately. She warned me NOT to talk to anyone about this as they too would/could be indicted for illegal drug distribution.”

After she said she gave the caller a story and went into “semi hysterics,” the person reporting the scam wrote, “She again put me on hold and said I could go to my local bank, withdraw $500 and she gave me two localities where Western Union was and I was to send the [money] immediately. I told her it was impossible. She then said she had no alternative but to send in the DEA agents and have me arrested immediately. I hung up.

“She called me back with further threats (all the while playing what sounded as [though] it was a real police radio call in the background). She was scarily threatening. I caught on almost immediately and let her ‘game’ play out. She had a credit card number of mine, my home phone (obviously) and my cell phone number. I called the local police … and reported this a fraudulent call. I am also calling every other agency I can possibly think of to turn this woman in for her absurd and evil behavior.

“The location for this number is somewhere in the [New York] area,” states the individual posting the scam. “I find this amazing since Hurricane Sandy was going thru that area and wreaking havoc at that very moment, therefore I am puzzled that this could be the actual location where the call originated. Plus, according to the national news I was watching on a live TV broadcast, most power had been cut off in that area. Be aware.”

Likewise, Morris said he wants other residents to know of the “DEA” scam and report it if they receive similar calls.

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