Newfoundland and Labrador police are warning local residents not to purchase medications from unlicensed online vendors.

Says Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt Boyd Merrill, “The fake pill industry… has sales in the billions of dollars and people in Newfoundland and Labrador are getting scammed as much as the rest of the world,” reports the CBC News.

Newfoundland and Labrador residents are not immune from counterfeits, although often they do not report the fake pills, said Sgt. Merrill.

Referring to Operation Pangea III, the worldwide coordinated effort of Interpol and government, in which more than 40 countries targeted the online sale of counterfeit and illegal medicines, Merril said, “People don’t like to report that they did something stupid. It’s just not human nature. Often it’s just $40 or $50 that people lose but if it happens to 100,000 people, it adds up.”

He added, “If you are going to buy drugs, buy them from a drug store,” Merrill said. “Other sources of pills are not safe.”

Americans can assure that their purchases of medication online are safe and authentic by checking for the VIPPS seal from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and by seeking pharmacies approved on the NABP checklist.