Beware of Extortion Scam Involving Prescription Drugs

September 26, 2012

Denver, CO – September 25, 2012 – The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning the public of an international extortion scam. This scam can affect anyone who has ever purchased a prescription online or by phone.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the scammer operates by phone and pretends to be a DEA agent or other law enforcement official. The scammer tells the victim that purchasing drugs over the Internet or by phone is illegal and that action will be taken against them unless they pay a fine. The scammer demands the victim to wire transfer the payment overseas. If the victim refuses, the criminal threatens to have the victim arrested or their property searched.

“Buying prescriptions from unreliable sources is indeed risky for several reasons and scammers are exploiting consumers’ fears in this latest ploy,” said Hope Marie Sneed, vice president of development and PR for the Better Business Bureau of Denver/Boulder. “Even those who buy their prescriptions from legitimate pharmacies may be confused by the laws if they’ve ever done a transaction online or by phone – which most have – and fall for this.”

According to the DEA, it is illegal to purchase controlled substance pharmaceuticals from a cyber pharmacy either online or by phone unless very stringent requirements are met, and all pharmacies that dispense controlled substance pharmaceuticals by means of the Internet must be registered with the DEA.

Ordering pharmaceuticals from an online pharmacy not regulated by the DEA can lead to receiving unsafe, fake, or ineffective drugs from criminals and could also compromise personal and financial information.

The DEA will never contact the public by phone and demand any kind of money or payment.

Impersonating a DEA agent is a federal crime. If you receive any such call, refuse the demand and report the threat by calling 1-877-792-2873. The BBB reminds to never wire transfer money because there it is nearly impossible to trace and is commonly used in scams all over the world.

# # # #

About the BBB

The BBB is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, BBB Business Reviews , BBB Charity Reports and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers dispute resolution services for consumers and businesses. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, there are 115 local, independent BBBs across the U. S. and Canada. Please visit for more information.