|DENVER -- The Drug Enforcement Administration issued a warning Wednesday to anyone who has purchased drugs over the Internet or by telephone.
The DEA said those people may be the target of an elaborate extortion scheme involving criminals who identify themselves as DEA agents or law enforcement officials from other agencies.According to the DEA, the criminals call the victims and inform them that purchasing drugs over the Internet or by phone is illegal and enforcement action will be taken against them unless they pay a fine.
most cases, the impersonators instruct their victims to pay the 'fine' via wire transfer to a designated location, usually overseas," Acting Denver SAC Kevin R. Merrill said in a release. "If victims refuse to send money, the impersonators often threaten to arrest them or search their property."
He said that some victims who bought their drugs using a credit card have also reported fraudulent use of their credit cards. “The company that’s doing these orders online is taking these customer profiles and customer list and then passing that information over to another criminal organization that is perpetrating this scam,” Merrill said.“I’m 52 years old. And I feel like the stupidest person on the earth. Why didn’t I listen to my husband. Why didn’t I do something different? Why am I so darn trusting after all these years?” said a Jefferson County woman who asked to be known only as Elizabeth.
She's cooperating with the DEA now and said she had purchased a weight-loss product online earlier this fall, and soon started getting phone calls at home from three different men, claiming a connection with the DEA. Elizabeth said she wired nearly $10,000 to individuals in the Dominican Republic, believing she was avoiding jail time.
:Impersonating a federal agent is a violation of federal law", Merrill said."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," he said.The DEA asks people to use caution when purchasing controlled substance pharmaceuticals by telephone or through the Internet."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," Merrill said. "In addition, personal and financial information could be compromised. Unfortunately, we have received several reports of Colorado citizens being victimized by this scam.
”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 by calling 877-792-2873.
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