WSVN — You get a call. They say they are from the DEA and have uncovered a crime you committed, that agents are on the way to arrest you, but you can avoid being taken to jail. How? It's why one woman called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Eileen Bauer: "These are boxes, handmade in Egypt, all mother-of-pearl."

There are a couple of things Eileen Bauer loves to do.

Eileen Bauer: "I love to travel."

And if you like to travel a lot, you know the next thing you love.

Eileen Bauer: "I like very much coming home. This is my world away from the world."

Back in the U.S. is nice, but it's also tricky.

Eileen Bauer: "I get back, and I see, 'DEA agent calling, Washington, D.C.'"

Eileen had a voice mail from a man claiming to be from the federal government.

Voice mail: "Special Agent Gregory Wilcocks, we will be expecting a call at 202…"

Eileen called the man back. His first question?

Eileen Bauer: "'Did you order medication over the Internet in 2007?'"

Eileen said yes, and since his information was correct, Eileen concluded Gregory Wilcocks was, indeed, with the DEA.

Eileen Bauer: "And how did he know what I ordered in 2007? It must be authentic. The caller ID said Washington, D.C."

The man then told her it was illegal to order the prescription online, and she was going to be charged.

Eileen Bauer: "[He said], 'We can have two federal marshals come to you. Now, they will handcuff you and they will drive you down.' I said, 'Handcuff me? No. This is where I work and live.'"

The so-called agent told Eileen he was going to help her, that since she had no criminal record, not even a traffic ticket, the government would let her settle things by paying $2,500 in restitution.

Eileen Bauer: "I said, 'Oh, thank you. [He said], 'Now, you can either bring cash to the courthouse or money order.'"

Eileen then went to a nearby Winn-Dixie to get the $2,500 money order, and two sharp employees saved the day.

Eileen Bauer: "[They said], 'There was another woman in here on Monday, and they did the same thing to her and we told her not to do it,' I was just so happy. They were like my two guardian angels."

Eileen called the police, the so-called agent quit calling her, and her nightmare was over.

Eileen Bauer: "It was several hours. I was scared to death."

Howard, it's wrong, but you almost never see anyone charged with doing this. Why?

Howard Finkelstein: "If you could catch these scammers, it's a crime, but they use so many names and numbers, they are so slick and quick, they keep moving. The simple fact: Government or police agencies do not threaten you with arrest, and they never ask for money in lieu of an arrest. If you get a call, hang up."

We hear about scams at Help Me Howard several times a week. For a while, a group was telling people they had kidnapped a family member, to drop cash at a location, or they would kill that family member.

Across Florida, residents have gotten a call from the someone claiming to be the sheriff, letting them know they were coming to arrest them for not showing up for jury duty … unless the resident paid a fee.

Scammers claim to be from any police or government agency they can think of. One Help Me Howard caller recently got one of those.

Scam victim: "And the guy's calling himself the IRS, and he said that if I didn't do what he says, that he's gonna have the sheriff's department over to arrest me."

Eileen Bauer: "Don't fall prey to these sharks."

The scammers are good, very good. And Eileen is talking about them because they almost got her money, and she doesn't want them to con anyone else.

Eileen Bauer: "I mean, some people are giving their last dollar. Some people won't be able to eat or pay their rent. I mean, this is atrocious."

Police say the scammers target elderly people, but in reality they are looking for very honest people of every age, the kind of person who would never lie, cheat or steal. They're trusting and think other people are honest like them, so if you get a call that sounds strange in any way, hang up.

A crook trying to cash in on you? Ready to send the scammer scampering? Phone it in to us. We aren't with the DEA or the IRS, but we know our ABC's, and some things about the law, too.

With this Help Me Howard, I'm Patrick Fraser 7News.

E-mail: (please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN
On Twitter: @helpmehoward7

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