As part of a fraudulent scheme to extort money from consumers, callers have falsely identified themselves as officials from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Consumers should know that FDA officials never contact consumers by phone to demand money or any other form of payment. "Impersonating an FDA official is a violation of federal law," says Michael Chappell, FDA's acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs.
Every year, the approach of Halloween heightens fears at FDA that consumers will harm their eyes with unapproved decorative contact lenses. These are lenses that some people use to temporarily change their eye color or to make their eyes look weird—perhaps giving them an "eye-of-the-tiger" look.
"Although unauthorized use of decorative contact lenses is a concern year-round, Halloween is the time when people may be inclined to use them, perhaps as costume accessories," says James Saviola, the Ophthalmic...
Several instances have been reported to FDA of calls enticing consumers to purchase discounted prescription drugs by wiring funds to one of several locations in the Dominican Republic. No medications are ever delivered.
A subsequent call is received from a fraudulent "FDA special agent" informing the consumer that a fine of several thousand dollars is required to be sent to an address in the Dominican Republic to prevent incarceration or other legal action.
Though the fraudulent calls appear to be from telephone numbers located within the United States, they are 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.
This scheme most likely began with the theft of personal information from consumers who previously purchased drugs via the Internet or telephone, or who were victims of credit card fraud. FDA reminds consumers to purchase prescription drugs only from licensed pharmacies located in the United States.
Report complaints or information regarding this scheme to FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations at (800) 521-5783.