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DEA warns of extortion scam

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is warning the public to be aware of a scam involving individuals posing as DEA special agents or other law enforcement personnel to extort money from their victims.

The perpetrators 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. They tell 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. In most cases, they instruct their victims to pay the “fine” via wire transfer to a designated location, usually overseas. If victims refuse to send money, the perpetrators often threaten to arrest them or search their property. Some victims who purchased their drugs using a credit card also have reported fraudulent use of their credit cards.

The DEA wants to remind the public that its agents will never contact individuals by telephone to demand money or any other form of payment.

The DEA also reminds the public to use caution when purchasing controlled substance pharmaceuticals by telephone or through the Internet. It is illegal to purchase controlled substance pharmaceuticals online or by telephone unless very stringent requirements are met. And, all pharmacies that dispense controlled substance pharmaceuticals by means of the internet must be registered with the 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.

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 using this online form. Please include all fields, including, most importantly, a call-back number so that a DEA investigator can contact you for additional information. Online reporting will greatly assist the DEA in investigating and stopping this criminal activity.

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