When rogue online pharmacies decide they need more victims or more revenue, sometimes they turn to some really outrageous tactics.
For example, there are certain online pharmacies, who after providing the medicine (usually prescription medicine) calls their customers, taking up the identities of special service agents and using fear tactics extract even more money from their victims. ABC news had a Nightline program reporting about this issue:
And there is an ongoing discussion about this on the Pharmacy Reviewer forum:
Pharmacy Reviewer: DEA Agent Impersonator Calls
However, long story short: DEA agents never call and warn about searching your apartments or demand anything from you. This is unlawful as there is no way you can identify an agent through the telephone.
Another trick fraudsters use to extort money after an order has been made (and paid for) is to email asking for more money. Usually the fraudsters’ excuse is an unavoidable price change, a better deal (buy more for just a little bonus), or a failure to receive money (which is almost always a lie). Customers often pay up, because they are afraid they will not receive their shipments otherwise. However most often this scam tactic is simply an attempt to extort even more money from their victims, because they will probably not follow through with the order even with additional money spent.
The last, common trick when dealing with overseas online pharmacies, is their refusal to accept any payment options other than Western Union. Western Union basically allows the fraudsters to completely vanish with your money. After someone in an overseas country takes your money, they have no tracks they should cover, so maximum care should be taken with online pharmacies with WU as their sole payment option. There is an example on the PR Forum of a man who was scammed out of $900 by paying through Western Union, showing the risks of using Western Union.
Ordering medicine online can be a real headache for those who have never dealt with online pharmacies before. Not knowing the advantages and disadvantages of various online pharmacy types could lead to money wasted, drugs not arriving or even legal issues. So here is a short list of the main types of pharmacies:
* Record-requiring pharmacies (most domestic (US) pharmacies): These pharmacies will sell over the counter medicines, but will not sell controlled medicines unless a prescription from a valid, face-to-face doctor is provided. If you have a prescription or need something basic, then just find the one pharmacy that sells cheapest/has the best service and order from them. There is a good tool to find the cheapest drugs on the main page of Pharmacy Reviewer.
* No record required pharmacies (mostly offshore pharmacies): These pharmacies will sell regular over the counter drugs as well as prescription drugs, but will generally not require a prescription, or minimal documents or online consultation (mostly just to satisfy legal requirements). These pharmacies can be unreliable and there have been cases of them, or their credit card processing company, stealing customers’ credit card information. However, there are many of these pharmacies that have grown to become reliable enough and many of them sell medicines sometimes much cheaper than domestic pharmacies do.
* Email pharmacies: This is the most volatile pharmacy type of them all. You can get whatever you want without any prescriptions, but the risks of losing money is the highest and the risk of legal problems is probably even higher than with the regular no record required pharmacies, because email pharmacies are often run by drug cartels and in case they are caught, you could end up on the radar of law enforcement agencies if the email vendors computer records were obtained.
The general advice is, find the cheapest, legitimate source, if you can. If you cannot, then look for a reliable off-shore source. Just don’t forget to read feedback and reviews left by people who have already experienced buying at online pharmacies.