SILVER SPRING, Md., Dec. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning the public aboutcriminals posing as FDA special agents and other law enforcement personnel as part of an international extortion scam.
The criminals call the victims -- who in most cases
The criminals always request the money be sent by wire transfer to a designated location, usually in the Dominican Republic. If victims refuse to send money, they are often threatened with a search of their property, arrest, deportation, physical harm, or incarceration.
"Impersonating an FDA official is a violation of federal law," said Michael Chappell, the FDA's acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. "The public should note that no FDA official will ever contact a consumer by phone demanding money or any other form of payment."
FDA special agents and other law enforcement officials are not authorized to impose or collect criminal fines. Only a court can take such action, with fines payable to the U.S. Treasury.
Anyone receiving a telephone call from a person purporting to be an FDA or other law enforcement official who is seeking money to settle a law enforcement action for the illegal purchase of drugs over the Internet should refuse the demand and call the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations Metro Washington Field Office at (800) 521-5783 to report the crime.
In addition to posing as FDA officials, criminals have posed as special agents of the DEA, FBI, U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Customs Service as well as U.S. and Dominican prosecutors and judges. In response, the FDA, in conjunction with various federal, state, and local agencies, is actively pursing criminal charges.
The FDA also reminds consumers to use caution when purchasing prescription drugs over the telephone or the Internet. In addition to the increased risk of purchasing unsafe and ineffective drugs from Web sites operating outside the law, there is the danger that personal data can be compromised. For more on FDA's concerns about unlawful drug sales on the Internet, see http://www.fda.gov/oc/buyonline/faqs.html.
Media Inquiries: Tom Gasparoli, 301-796-4737, [email protected]
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA
SOURCE U.S. Food and Drug Administration
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