People around the country, including many here on the Western Slope, have become victims of cyber criminals.
The Drug Enforcement Agency has seen an increase in crimes involving extortion of individuals across the country, including people here on the Western Slope. The D.E.A. says that it all starts with people ordering prescription drugs online.
“There's a large extortion operation that's operating around the world" says Jim Schrant, Resident Agent in Charge with D.E.A. Western Colorado.
The Drug Enforcement Agency has seen a spike in a cyber scam that's targeting people who are ordering prescription drugs from the internet.
"What they're doing is they're calling, emailing, or texting people that have ordered prescription medicine over the internet. They're posing as federal agents, specifically D.E.A. agents, and often times they'll give actual names of actual D.E.A. agents that they're posing as” explains Schrant.
Officials say they've already gotten dozens of calls from people on the Western Slope who have fallen victim to these extortion crimes.
"We’ve had a number of these cases ranging from Pitkin County to Mesa County, and as far south as Durango. This is a nationwide problem where it’s happening in every state in the United States" says Schrant.
Agents want to remind people that ordering drugs online can be very risky.
"It’s very highly regulated by D.E.A. and for the most part, the vast majority of internet pharmacies that are out there are either illegal or they're up to no good" says Schrant.
If you've become a victim to this type of crime, agents say to write down any phone numbers, email addresses, or any information leading to the criminals.
The D.E.A. has set up an extortion hotline for you to call. The number is 877-792-2873.