Online Pharmacy Patrons Threatened with Extortion

A North Carolina sheriff is warning residents of a phone scam being perpetrated by people claiming to be Drug Enforcement Administration agents, targeting people who have used online pharmacies.

Carteret County Sheriff Asa Buck said the caller tells the victim that such purchases are illegal, and now they must pay a fine. In most cases, the caller says the victim must wire the money, according to WITN, an NBC affiliate.

Buck said that the DEA will never call anyone and demand money.

Law enforcement representatives at the recent Safe Medicines Interchange mentioned that this scam has been perpetuating since 2008. The FDA released an alert in November 2008, quoting Michael Chappell, the FDA’s acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs,” “Impersonating an FDA official is a violation of federal law,” he said. “The public should note that no FDA official will ever contact a consumer by phone demanding money or any other form of payment. FDA officials always present identification in person when conducting official business.”

“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 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,” Sheriff Buck told the news source.