On Your Side Alert: Fake FDA Agents

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - There is a warning from the Food and Drug Administration -- scammers are calling the public pretending to be with organization. The bogus agents have one purpose -- to get your money.

If you've recently ordered medicine through an online pharmacy -- buyer beware. If the site was not legitimate -- your personal information may now be in the hands of crooks. Professor Amy Rudenko, with VCU's School of Pharmacy says it means you could be the target of a phone scam -- where crooks impersonate FDA agents. "These patients have been honestly been trying to find the best price for their medications which unfortunately a lot of times results in patients using internet pharmacies, "she says,

The FDA says once you've submitted your personal information to these online illegal pharmacies -- criminals collect it, then call claiming you are in trouble for buying medication on an illegal website. "The biggest red flag is with many of these type of scams, the use of scare tactics and fear and reiterating the fact that you have done something illegal and finally asking your for well, if you need to resolve this, you need to just send us a payment," she explains.

The FDA says it will never call threatening consumers and asking for money. If you get one of these calls, it's scam -- hang up! Another thing to keep in mind, make sure the site is legit. You can do this by going to the Virginia Board of Pharmacy website or the site for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. "It is not illegal for individuals to use internet pharmacies but we do want to make sure they are licensed internet pharmacies that they are using," Rudenko says.

If the pharmacy is not licensed, besides being scammed, you could end up with counterfeit medication that could lead to serious health problems. Rudenko also recommends checking to make sure a site has the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site Seal or VIPPS.

Another tip, if you're dealing with an online pharmacy, experts say make sure there is a physical address, not just a P.O. Box. Even if the pharmacy is online, you should also be able to speak to a pharmacist by phone.

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