DEA issues warning about extortion scam

- An Arizona man fields a phone call from someone claiming to be with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

He thought it was suspicious and as it turns out, his instincts were right.

It was just a normal start to the day for Tracy Bailey in his Cottonwood home until he received a phone call around 9:00 a.m. It was a number from California and since he has family there, he didn't think anything of it. But the man on the other end of the line was trying to pull a fast one -- and he was trying to dupe a man who knew it didn't sound right from the start.

"This guy answers the phone and says he's from the DEA and he asked if I understood the complexity of the DEA," said Bailey.

The problem for the caller was that he did. That's because Bailey spent more than a decade in law enforcement both here in Arizona and around the world. He knew this was an unusual step.

"Law enforcement, especially the federal government, is not going to call you on the phone and tell you that you've committed a crime and they're going to be coming for you," he said.

The caller said they had intercepted illegal online prescriptions meant for Bailey's address. So Bailey responded by throwing the caller a curve ball.

"Since I wasn't willing to go along with the game he was playing and I asked to go ahead and be arrested with a warrant. He said 'OK, an arrest warrant will be issued for you.' and hung up the phone."

Bailey says even he was surprised, but immediately contacted the DEA and filled out a form on their website. 

His advice? Take down as much information about the call and report it.

"These people are just preying on innocent individuals who just want to go on with their life and are afraid when something like this happens and they'll just do what it takes to get them off their back," he said.

Online: www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubs/pressreleases/extortion_scam.htm

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