Take Action: Protect Patients from Online Scams With Domain Name Reform
Re-open access to WHOIS contact information; require that domain name sellers lock and suspend suspicious websites
These companies also maintain contact information for registered domain names in a database called WHOIS. Until 2018, investigators used WHOIS to track down cybercriminals, but in the last two years access to WHOIS has been radically limited in response to EU privacy laws and other policy changes. The result is that authorities cannot find and prosecute those selling fraudulent products on websites.
At the end of February 2020, Representative Bob Latta (R-OH) has introduced HR875, a resolution aimed at safeguarding access to WHOIS information for law enforcement and the public. HR875 states that “domain name registration information, referred to as ‘WHOIS’ information, is critical to the protection of the United States national and economic security, intellectual property rights enforcement, cybersecurity, as well as the health, safety, and privacy of its citizens, and should remain readily accessible.”
What you can do:
On May 8, 2020, The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) wrote Congressional leaders in the House and Senate urging them to take extra measures in the next health and stimulus package to protect the American public from online COVID-19 scams. PSM asked that they require domain name sellers to suspend and lock websites that facilitate COVID-19 and other health fraud, and re-open registration information so that law enforcement can pursue criminals using websites to take advantage of the public.
Lend your voice to this campaign. Share our one-pager about domain name reform to help others understand why this is important. TEXT STOPSCAM to 52886 to send a letter to your members of Congress, or submit your letter here.
Background / resources
- Our May 6, 2020 #covidscams episode examines this issue
- Read our short explanation about domain name reform
- Read letters to Congressional leadership and federal agencies:
- Representative Robert Latta of Ohio to the Department of Justice, FBI and DEA (June 24, 2020) Rep. Latta also sent letters to several additional agencies.
- PSM's Statement on the New Pilot Program From NTIA and FDA (June 12, 2020)
Stories about counterfeit drugs and online crime
Four years after pleading guilty in 2013, a Pennsylvania pharmacist has been sentenced to 6 months of home detention and three years probation after pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy to smuggle foreign drugs in the United States and money laundering.
Quesada was originally indicted in October 2015. He allegedly used his websites to sell medication to unsuspecting U.S. patients that were unaware they were buying misbranded and counterfeit prescription drugs manufactured in India.
In a television report for NBC Nightly News, Lester Holt and his investigative team were able to find Chinese-made, bulk fentanyl powder for sale on the Internet after searching for “buy fentanyl” online. When his crew sent an enquiry email to one of the listed sellers, they responded: “Hello, We have a very potent fentanyl…
Many people struggle to lose weight, and under a doctor’s supervision, diet pills can be a safe and effective way to reach your goal. Some people, like Elna Baker, are so afraid of regaining the weight that they continue taking the pills by purchasing them while in other countries or ordering them from online pharmacies. While…
In a new program for North Carolina, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall has set up a public awareness campaign for her state that allows North Carolinians to check whether the online pharmacy they want to purchase from is genuine, the News & Observer reports. Dubbed “Verify Before you Buy,” the new program aims to protect…
Americans have been talking about saving money on medicine by importing drugs from Canada for years and circulating price comparison tables to prove their point. In the past few days, this graphic has been making the rounds; The Partnership for Safe Medicines staff wondered whether these prices were accurate, and so we checked them by…
Juan Gallinal, a former Virginia police officer, acted as the head of a Florida conspiracy that used a valid brick-and-mortar pharmacy as a cover for series of fake pharmacy websites that sold misbranded and addictive drugs. The owner of a fake online pharmacy business in Florida has been sentenced to eight years in prison, the…
The two men acted as U.S. distributors for a series of Thailand-based fake online pharmacy websites that sold imported and non-FDA approved medication to U.S. consumers. Troy Tapia and Anthony Rouse III of Louisiana have each been sentenced to three years probation after pleading guilty to fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering,…
Troy Tapia and Anthony Rouse III of Louisiana have each been sentenced to three years in prison for acting as drop-shippers for a Thailand-based fake online pharmacy operation. Each man pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering. Rouse and Tapia fulfilled U.S. orders from Thai…
Pair that were arrested in London in October 2012 for operating a fake online pharmacy that sold to U.S. consumers plead guilty and are sentenced. Pakistani fake online pharmacy entrepreneurs Sheikh Waseem Ul Haq and Tahir Saeed have been sentenced to time served after pleading guilty to 48 counts, including “conspiracy to import Schedule II,…