HOUSTON, TX – Another day, another scam. This one targets folks who have bought drugs and other pharmaceuticals online.
Foreign scammers are working the phones trying to extort thousands of dollars from unwitting consumers by posing as DEA agents and exploiting loopholes in online pharmaceutical sales laws. And they’re doing it right here in Houston.
“They receive a telephone call from what purports to be a Dallas area code,” says Harris County District Attorney’s Office investigator Michael Nolan, “and the person on the other end of the telephone identifies themselves as a drug enforcement administration agent, special agent, and that they have committed a crime by purchasing drugs over the internet.”
The scammers then tell their victims they have to pay a fine in order to avoid prosecution.
Sound too good to be true? Listen to this: most of these scammers work in concert with fraudulent online pharmacies that sell “prescription free,” low-cost and even counterfeit medication to U.S. consumers by claiming to be based in Canada.
The problem is: it’s illegal in the U.S. to buy drugs online without a prescription. So when the fake DEA agent calls someone who has just made one of these purchases, the buyer knows they’re busted, and more often than not, they’re ready to pay the fine the scammer tells them they owe.
“No legitimate law enforcement agency is ever going to cold call anyone and ask for money,” Nolan says.
The easy answer? Buy your drugs from reputable online pharmacies and have your prescriptions at the ready. And as always, never give your information to anyone over the phone. It’s just that simple, folks.