Scam artists are masquerading as federal officials and drug enforcement officers in an attempt to get victims to pay "fines" to them, federal officials warn.

The criminals call people who recently purchased drugs on the Internet, tell them that doing that is illegal and demand that they pay a fine, in most cases to an overseas location via wire transfer, Drug Enforcement Administration officials said in a statement. If the victims don't send the funds, the fraudsters threaten to arrest them or search their property; in some cases, criminals also managed to illegally use victims' credit cards, officials said.

"Impersonating a federal agent is a violation of federal law. The public should be aware that no DEA agent will ever contact members of the public by telephone to demand money or any other form of payment," officials said in a statement.

People who suspect they got a call from a drug scam artist can report it by calling 877-792-2873.