Camden County Sheriff's Office, DEA warn of extortion ploy - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Authorities warn of extortion ploy

CAMDEN CO., GA (WTOC) -

The Camden County Sheriff's Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration are warning of an extortion scheme by law enforcement impersonators.

Criminals posing as DEA special agents or other law enforcement personnel as part of an international extortion scheme.

An incident of this type was recently reported by a local woman. The scammers tried to convince her to send them $1,500 or set up a payment plan. She was even given a bogus case number.

The scenario works like this: criminals call victims, who have previously purchased drugs online or over the phone. The callers identify themselves as DEA agents or law enforcement officials from other agencies. The impersonators tell the victims that buying drugs online 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, according to the sheriff's office. 

A victim sent more than $29,000 in wire transfers. If victims refuse to send money, the impersonators often threaten to arrest them or search their property.  

Some victims who bought drugs using a credit card also reported fraudulent use of their credit cards, according to the sheriff's office.

Impersonating a federal agent is a violation of federal law.  

Any pharmacies that dispense controlled substance pharmaceuticals online lnternet must be registered with DEA.  

To report similar cases, call 1.877.792.2873.

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