Scam: Threatened With Arrest, Victim Loses $3,200

SMITHFIELD – A 73 year-old Johnston County woman lost a large amount of money last week after falling victim to a scam.  On Jan. 13th, the Smithfield resident said she received a phone call from a individual claiming to be an agent with a drug task force in Texas.  The caller claimed a warrant had been issued for her arrest for drug trafficking

The scammer claimed drug task force agents had stopped a vehicle along the Texas-Mexico border with 10 pounds of drug inside.  There was also blood on the dash.  They claimed the victim’s identification was found in the car and unless she paid $3,200 she would be arrested.

Alarmed and frightened, the elderly victim did as requested. She obtained four $500 Walmart gift cards and six $200 eBay gift cards and provided the card numbers to the caller.  Only later did she realized she had been scammed.

While the bogus details of the story vary, this is a widespread scam. Scammers often claim to be with law enforcement or the Social Security Administration saying they have a warrant pending for drug trafficking or money laundering.  Scammers use several scare tactics hoping to prompt victims to respond immediately to their demands.  Some scammers even spoof caller ID so it appears the call has originated from a law enforcement agency’s phone number.