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The Drug Enforcement Administration continues to warn the public about criminals posing as DEA special agents or other law enforcement personnel.
“This criminal activity continues to occur, despite significant public attention to the illicit scheme,” the agency said in a press release last week.
DEA offices nationwide regularly receive telephone calls from concerned citizens who are the victims of this extortion effort.
According to the DEA, criminals call the victims (who in most cases previously purchased drugs over the Internet or by telephone) and identify themselves as DEA agents or law enforcement officials from other agencies.
“The impersonators inform their victims that purchasing drugs over the Internet or by telephone is illegal, and that enforcement action will be taken against them unless they pay a fine,” the press release said. “In most cases, the impersonators instruct their victims to pay the ‘fine’ via wire transfer to a designated location, usually overseas.”
If victims refuse to send money, the impersonators often threaten to arrest them or search their property. Some victims who purchased their drugs using a credit card also reported fraudulent use of their credit cards.
Impersonating a federal agent is a violation of federal law.
“The public should be aware that no DEA agent will ever contact members of the public by telephone to demand money or any other form of payment,” the agency said.
There are other dangers in ordering drugs in this manner, in addition to exposing consumers to this potential scam.
The DEA reminds the public to use caution when purchasing controlled substance pharmaceuticals by telephone or through the Internet.
According to the agency, it is illegal to purchase controlled substance pharmaceuticals online or by telephone unless very stringent requirements are met. All pharmacies that dispense controlled substance pharmaceuticals by means of the Internet must be registered with DEA.
“By ordering any pharmaceutical medications online or by telephone from unknown entities, members of the public risk receiving unsafe, counterfeit, and/or ineffective drugs from criminals who operate outside the law. In addition, personal and financial information could be compromised,” the agency said.
Anyone receiving a telephone call from a person purporting to be a DEA special agent or other law enforcement official seeking money should refuse the demand and report the threat.
To report the extortion scam, call the DEA at 1-877-792-2873.