DEA Warns of Extortion Scam

If you bought prescription pills on the internet, and get a phone call from the DEA saying you violated the law and can get out of being charged by paying a fine (also via the internet), the DEA says don't fall for it, it's a scam.

Where is it happening? So far, in Aspen. Here's the Aspen/Pitkin County press release. [More...]

Sheriff Joe DiSalvo would like to warn the citizens of Pitkin County about criminals posing as DEA special agents working as part of an international extortion scheme. Residents have reported to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office that they have received phone calls from a person posing as a DEA special agent. According to the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) website the calls are most likely placed to people who have purchased drugs over the internet or by telephone. Over the phone, the imposters “inform the victims that purchasing drugs over the internet is illegal, and that enforcement action will be taken against them” states the DEA website. The victims are told to pay a “fine” via wire transfer, usually to an overseas location. If the victims refuse to pay the fine they are threatened with possible arrest or a search of their property.

The DEA wants you to call them if you've received such a call. The Aspen article says:

The residents who contacted authorities had purchased prescription drugs, said deputy Michael Buglione. They were not violating any laws.

I hope people don't read that and think it is legal to purchase any prescription drug on the internet. You still need a valid prescription. I hope this isn't a DEA reverse scam to get people to phone in admitting they committed a crime. (Please don't put the name of specific drugs in comments, it brings out the spammers. Use asterisks if you must refer to a certain prescription drug. And please don't ask for or provide legal advice, TalkLeft doesn't do that.)

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  • Display: Sort:
    Interesting (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 02:41:19 PM EST
    Phone phishing has gotten pretty big recently, I think. I now regularly get calls on my cell phone from anonymous telemarketers promising a "last chance" to lower my credit card interest rates. When I try to dig in to who they are, they disconnect.

    Really seedy.

    I would think out of country (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 03:33:20 PM EST
    vendors would also be willing to sell their list of customers.  I have this horrible picture in my head right now of all these elderly Americans who were just trying to get by and get the drugs their doctors said they needed at a price that they can afford now having a heart attack with the phone in their hand.  All my grandparents seemed to feel very vulnerable and fearful in their old age, and my grandmother bought drugs out of country because they were much cheaper at times.

    I have a picture... (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Mon Sep 26, 2011 at 11:20:29 AM EST
    of a million embarassed about E.D. dudes sweating a DEA phone call...especially if their wives haven't noticed more pep in the junk:)

    It's text messages for me. (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by caseyOR on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 04:08:44 PM EST
    Just got one from Wells Fargo telling me my debit card had been cancelled and giving me a number to call to fix the problem.

    I don't have a Wells Fargo account. So, I am puzzled as to why these particular scammers texted me.  

    And I hate getting hit with scams via text. I never text anyone, and no one I care to communicate with texts me. Also, my phone does not allow me to delete a text w/o first opening it. grrr.


    They only need a 2% response rate (none / 0) (#7)
    by Peter G on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 06:56:38 PM EST
    or something - probably less - to make a profit on the scam, probably.  So why not just text random numbers?  Some fair number of them will have Wells Fargo accounts.

    I got (none / 0) (#8)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Sep 25, 2011 at 08:09:38 AM EST
    one of those too and it scared me for a second because I literally give my cell phone number out to almost no one. They didn't use a bank name. Only that my debit card had been cancelled and some number that i needed to call.

    Are you on the cell phone "do not (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 03:28:27 PM EST
    call list"?

    Unsolicited commercial calls (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 03:36:30 PM EST
    to cell phones are generally illegal anyway (you have to opt in). These are scam calls, and they don't care what list you're on.

    Maybe it's an East coast cell phone (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Sat Sep 24, 2011 at 03:47:08 PM EST
    provider glitch, as I don't get these calls on West coast.

    the DEA (none / 0) (#9)
    by cpinva on Mon Sep 26, 2011 at 06:43:45 AM EST
    is an extortion scam. they're just bent because someone else is trying to horn in on their gig.

    Not Advise (none / 0) (#12)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Sep 26, 2011 at 11:22:08 AM EST
    I knew a DEA guy and he told me there are thresholds to what they will pursue, and they were so high I was shocked.  In other words they don't chase a kilos of white or a bail of green.  It's not what they do.

    Again, I'm not giving advise, but they aren't going to chase a couple bottles of pills around.

    When they get a tip under their limits, they throw it to the locals.  But even locals aren't going to chase around a bottle of pills that in likelihood are long gone.

    Anyone dumb enough to call the DEA and get their names in a database should probably stop doing the the drugs they are snitching on themselves for.

    I doubt a pharmacy is going to sell the names, some clown working there probably downloaded a customer list and hatched some grand plan to get rich.

    And in all seriousness, does anyone really think the there is any government agency tracking down small scams.