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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have issued a warning about a fraudulent scam attempting to extort money from consumers. The scheme involves callers who falsely identify themselves as “FDA special agents.”

The scam starts with a phone call enticing consumers to purchase discounted prescription drugs by wiring money to the Dominican Republic. No drugs are sent.

A second call is received from the fraudulent “FDA special agent” informing the consumer that a fine of several thousand dollars must be sent to an address in the Dominican Republic to prevent arrest and other legal action.

Consumers should note that the fraudulent calls appear to be from telephone numbers located within the United States, but are in fact from either ported voice-over-the-Internet-protocol numbers (calls made directly from a computer and moved or "ported" to other computers to avoid detection) or cellular phones. Reports to FDA describe the callers as having Hispanic accents.

According to the agency, the scam most likely started with the theft of personal information from consumers who have previously purchased medication via the phone, internet or who were victims of credit card fraud.

The FDA has received several reports and is investigating. Any information should be reported to the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations at (800) 521-5783.

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