JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Department of Justice is warning people that criminals posing as law enforcement agents are trying to steal your money.
It happened to a Jacksonville woman after she said she made a purchase online. She says she fears for her life and is now too distraught to share her name.
"I said 'Oh my God, I didn't know I was doing anything illegal,'" the victim told Channel 4's Elizabeth Cate.
A criminal posing as a DEA agent told her over the phone she could be arrested because of an order she placed online for diet pills six years ago.
"I mean, it just scared me," she said. "I'm thinking, I knew it was a scam, but you just always have that little bit of doubt, that little bit of doubt that what if? What if it isn't a scam?"
The criminal told her over if she wanted to avoid jail time, she could pay up.
"All I could think of, is if there are SWAT people out there, if they are in combat clothes with guns, and if they're going to come in here and get me? I'm thinking 'Oh god, I don't want that.'"
The phone call, the threats; it was all a scam. Channel 4 Crime and Safety Expert Ken Jefferson highlights the importance of making sure your personal information is protected.
"'Tis the season not only to be jolly, but to be careful, not only about what you purchase, but how you purchase it," warned Jefferson.
The Department of Justice encourages everyone to use caution when buying pharmaceuticals online. The victim Channel 4 spoke with said she'll never fall prey again.
"I mean I order vitamins online," she said. "I'm not going to do that anymore. I mean, your information is out there and you don't know whose hands it gets in."
To report an extortion scam to the Department of Justice, call 1-877-792-2873.
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