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December 29, 2009, 05:51:14 PM by recalls-guru | Views: 2253 | Comments: 0

FDA NEWS RELEASE    For Immediate Release: Dec. 29, 2009
Media Inquiries: Tom Gasparoli, 301-796-4737, thomas.gasparoli@fda.hhs.gov
  Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA
 FDA Warns Public of Continued Extortion Scam by FDA   Impersonators    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning the public about   criminals 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 previously   purchased drugs over the Internet or via "telepharmacies" -- and   identify themselves as FDA special agents or other law enforcement   officials. The criminals inform the victims that purchasing drugs over   the Internet or the telephone is illegal, and that law enforcement   action will be pursued unless a fine or fee ranging from $100 to   $250,000 is paid. Victims often also have fraudulent transactions placed   against their credit cards.
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, and 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, 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/ForConsumers/ProtectYourself/default.htm.
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