LOS ANGELES (CBS) — It sounds like a plot out of a bad Hollywood movie: con artists pose as federal narcotics agents threatening to prosecute Americans for buying prescription drugs online.
But a report Monday revealed the scheme is very much a reality and currently under investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The DEA has reportedly received numerous complaints from victims over the last year involving threats of prosecution for prescriptions purchased online.
And as TMZ.com executive editor Harvey Levin told KNX 1070, the scam always begins with a phone call.
The latest victim is a film producer who received a voicemail message from a man claiming to work for the DEA, informing him that he had been indicted on drug charges and needed to call the agency immediately.
This producer — whose identity has not been released — was told he had been indicted in the Dominican Republic for purchasing a bottle of Xanax online back in 2006 on a website registered in that nation.
The agent is heard on the voicemail message saying, “You need to get in contact with us as soon as possible…it’s very urgent you get in contact with us.”
But the “agent” also offered the now-jittery producer a second option.
“He said the Supreme Court justice of the Dominican Republic is willing to make this a civil settlement if he sends an amount of money in that would basically settle all things and would not be a criminal prosecution,” said Levin. “It was a scam.”
According to Levin, the DEA has determined that whoever is behind the scam is somehow able to access customers’ accounts and transactions online.
Levin refused to reveal the identity of the targeted producer, but claims there are multiple persons in the industry who have fallen victim to the scam.