I’m almost 50 years old. I have a college degree, and I don’t consider myself to be too naive in the ways of the world.
But yesterday? I was “had.”
I was at work and received a call from an agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency. Agent John Gilmore proceeded to give me his name, my case number and informed me that my name was linked to illegal drug purchases from the Dominican Republic.
Yes, that was my response. I felt my face flush and armpits sweat. Agent Gilmore went on to tell me that I had two choices of action. He then mumbled words like, “felony,” “bench warrant” and “imminent arrest” to me. He asked if I had ever ordered drugs on line. “Of course I have, it’s cheaper with my insurance to do it 90 days at a time,” I responded. I kept mentioning my insurance, UnitedHealthcare, 90 days, legitimate prescription, Lexapro. I'm sure I sounded like a guilty woman. He continued to scare me and then transferred me to Border Patrol.
The gentleman at Border Patrol (who sounded A LOT like Agent Gilmore) then proceeded to tell me my fine was $2800. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't keep $2800 for fines in my back pocket. He continued that if I paid that, all would be well, the charges would be dropped. I would be a free woman.
DING DING DING.
Finally, at this point, a warning bell went off in my head. Something wasn’t right. Something was fishy. the jig was up. A co-worker of mine, who was in the same room with me during this freaky event, had been looking on line and discovered it was a scam. That gave me the courage to tell AGENT GILMORE or the BORDER PATROL MAN that I would have my attorney call him. (Remember, I work at a LAW FIRM) He fumbled around and mentioned arrest and felony to me again, but I didn’t cave. I hung up the phone.
I then proceeded to read, for an hour, tales of this scam and how very many people have been affected by it. I felt a bit better; I mean, when someone identifies themselves to me as a member of the DEA, who am I to question it? I knew I was innocent, but for a few moments, this guy had me believing I had broken some kind of mysterious international law, and was prepared to pay a fine. I still feel a bit sick to my stomach about it all, and am amazed at how easily I was manipulated.
And I call myself not stoopid.
I’d buckle under interrogation.
Don’t pick me for your team.
I’d look awful in horizontal stripes.