The Harris County District Attorney’s office has a warning for residents about fake phone calls.
Officials said criminals posing as DEA agents are calling people who have previously purchased prescription drugs or herbal supplements over the internet. The caller tells the targeted victim that purchasing drugs online is illegal and they will need to pay a “fine.”
“These criminals are using the name of a federal agency to blackmail innocent consumers,” said Harris County DA Devon Anderson.
Officials said these type of phone calls have been reported in other parts of the country, and are now being reported in Harris County.
Investigators with the district attorney’s office said the operators of the internet pharmacies sell names and phone numbers to criminals who then begin to extort money from the purchaser, by demanding the fake administrative penalties.
According to investigators, “it is illegal to order pharmaceuticals online when you have not established a doctor-patient relationship and it is illegal to receive the medicine without a valid medical purpose.”
Investigators warn consumers that when ordering pharmaceuticals online, they not only risk receiving counterfeit and ineffective drugs, but also compromise their personal and financial information.
The district attorney’s office and the DEA are reminding residents that no DEA agent or any law enforcement agency would ever contact you by phone to pay a fine.
Officials urge anyone who receives a phone call to deny the request and report the threat to the DEA. If you think you have been a victim of this extortion threat or received a call from an imposter, fill out this form.