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Scam watch: Online pharmacy, tech support, IRS email

October 07, 2012|By Stuart Pfeifer
  • A Canadian man has pleaded guilty in a case involving prescription drugs. Above, pill bottles unrelated to that case.
A Canadian man has pleaded guilty in a case involving prescription drugs.… (Jay Janner / Associated…)

Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for.

Online pharmacy – A Canadian man, accused of conspiring to send counterfeit prescription drugs to U.S. patients, has pleaded guilty to a criminal charge in the United States. Andrew Strempler operated RxNorth.com, which sold discount prescription drugs through the Internet to customers in the United States. Strempler’s company purported to send the drugs from a pharmacy in Canada but actually filled the orders at a facility in the Bahamas, using drugs obtained from suppliers throughout the world and labeling them with a Canadian address, U.S. officials alleged. Some of the drugs were counterfeit, prosecutors said. Strempler, who pleaded guilty during a hearing in Florida to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, faces up to five years in prison.

Tech support – A U.S. judge has halted six separate scams in which victims were told that their home computers were infected with viruses or spyware and that they needed to pay fees in order to have the problems resolved, the Federal Trade Commission announced. Five of them reached victims via telemarketing calls, and the sixth lured consumers by placing online ads, the FTC said. The agency alleged that the scams' operators were mostly based in India and targeted English speakers in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. It targeted 14 companies and 17 individuals in lawsuits filed in New York. At the FTC’s request, a judge ordered the companies to stop their practices and ordered their assets frozen.

IRS email – The Better Business Bureau is warning about an email scam in which victims are told that their electronic payments to the Internal Revenue Service have failed. The email directs taxpayers to download an attached file, which actually contains a virus, the BBB said in a recent consumer alert. People should never click links or download attachments contained in emails unless they are certain the email is from a trusted source, the BBB cautioned. 

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