DEA warns public of extortion scam

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The Drug Enforcement Administration is warning the public about criminals posing as DEA special agents or other law enforcement personnel as part of an international extortion scheme.

The criminals call the victims (who in most cases previously purchased drugs over the lnternet or by telephone) and identify themselves as DEA agents or law enforcement officials from other agencies. The impersonators inform their victims that purchasing drugs over the lnternet or by telephone is illegal, and that enforcement action will be taken against them unless they pay a fine.

In most cases, the impersonators instruct their victims to pay the “fine” via wire transfer to a designated location, usually overseas. If victims refuse to send money, the impersonators often threaten to arrest them or search their property. Some victims who purchased their drugs using a credit card also reported fraudulent use of their credit cards.

Impersonating a federal agent is a violation of federal law. 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.

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.

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